She found it horrible that in this supreme matter everything must be left to Fate, to Chance, to the merest Toss-up.
It was only by the merest chance that they had such a man as Captain Fuller to oppose them.
It just turned on the merest hairsbreadth of a pressure on the trigger.
It mattered not whether it were jewels, or silver, or the merest trifle.
Our marriage was the merest form, and I came back from the church wishing that my last hour had come.
All this is only the merest suggestion of what is done for the main part of the vessel's hull.
Absurd as it was, the phrase crinkled Stanton's heart just the merest trifle.
At any moment, by the merest accident, I may become one of the impossibles.
He could not be more unsettled and useless if he were the merest dunce in the three kingdoms.
It never belonged to anybody else for the merest fraction of a second, and never can.
c.1400, "unmixed, pure," from Old French mier "pure" (of gold), "entire, total, complete," and directly from Latin merus "unmixed" (of wine), "pure; bare, naked;" figuratively "true, real, genuine," probably originally "clear, bright," from PIE *mer- "to gleam, glimmer, sparkle" (cf. Old English amerian "to purify," Old Irish emer "not clear," Sanskrit maricih "ray, beam," Greek marmarein "to gleam, glimmer"). Original sense of "nothing less than, absolute" (mid-15c., now only in vestiges such as mere folly) existed for centuries alongside opposite sense of "nothing more than" (1580s, e.g. a mere dream).
Old English mere "sea, ocean; lake, pool, pond, cistern," from Proto-Germanic *mari (cf. Old Norse marr, Old Saxon meri "sea," Middle Dutch maer, Dutch meer "lake, sea, pool," Old High German mari, German Meer "sea," Gothic marei "sea," mari-saiws "lake"), from PIE *mori- "sea" (cf. Latin mare, Old Church Slavonic morje, Russian more, Lithuanian mares, Old Irish muir, Welsh mor "sea," Gaulish Are-morici "people living near the sea").