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[mer; English mair] /mɛr; English mɛər/
noun, plural mères
[mer; English mairz] /mɛr; English mɛərz/ (Show IPA).
mother1 .
Can be confused
mere, mère, mirror. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mère
  • Calling a cellphone a mere phone seems a little silly these days.
  • Byrnes bolted out the front door of the clubhouse riding his beach cruiser bicycle mere minutes after the game ended.
  • The disparity goes beyond mere headcounts.
  • As of yesterday the trekkers were a mere 13 miles (21 kilometers) shy of their goal.
  • As a second-generation general manager of a legendary comics shop, that's not mere hyperbole.
  • This seemingly naive affirmation is no mere rhetorical device.
  • Mere friends are we,—well, friends the merest.
  • No longer is the fruit a mere ingredient in fattening desserts.
  • It may come as a shock, then, that mere mortals have now made artificial life.
  • Coral Sea begins mere steps from 40 stylish open-air rooms.
British Dictionary definitions for mère


adjective (superlative) merest
being nothing more than something specified: she is a mere child
Word Origin
C15: from Latin merus pure, unmixed


(archaic or dialect) a lake or marsh
(obsolete) the sea or an inlet of it
Word Origin
Old English mere sea, lake; related to Old Saxon meri sea, Old Norse marr, Old High German mari; compare Latin mare


(archaic) a boundary or boundary marker
Word Origin
Old English gemǣre


(NZ) a short flat striking weapon
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for mère



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").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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