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See more synonyms for merely on Thesaurus.com
  1. only as specified and nothing more; simply: merely a matter of form.
  2. Obsolete.
    1. without admixture; purely.
    2. altogether; entirely.
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Origin of merely

First recorded in 1400–50, merely is from the late Middle English word mereli. See mere1, -ly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

purely, only, simply, solely, hardly, barely, quite, just, wholly, utterly

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British Dictionary definitions for merely


  1. only; nothing more than
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for merely


mid-15c., "entirely, purely," from mere (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "and nothing more" is from 1580s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper