Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[mair] /mɛər/
a fully mature female horse or other equine animal.
before 900; Middle English, variant of mere, Old English m(i)ere; cognate with Dutch merrie, German Mähre, Old Norse merr; akin to Old English mearh, Old Norse marr, Irish marc horse. See marshal
Can be confused
mare, mayor.


[mair] /mɛər/
noun, Obsolete
nightmare (def 3).
before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with German Mahre, Old Norse mara. See nightmare


[mahr-ey, mair-ee] /ˈmɑr eɪ, ˈmɛər i/
noun, plural maria
[mahr-ee-uh, mair-] /ˈmɑr i ə, ˈmɛər-/ (Show IPA).
any of the several large, dark plains on the moon and Mars: Galileo believed that the lunar features were seas when he first saw them through a telescope.
1680-90; < Latin: sea Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mares
  • The counsellors know everything that is needed to be known about the mares.
  • It increased the number of horses that would be returned to the lands and decided not to spay the mares.
  • He even escorted me out of the canyon to protect his mares and babies.
  • Each year they inject the vaccine into some of the mares.
  • The vaccine keeps the mares from having babies that year.
  • By delaying conception by a few years, it's hoped that mares will be in better shape to produce healthier foals.
  • Mare basalt hails from vast, dark, flat areas of the moon's surface called mares.
  • Inside the corral the cowboys separated the stallions from the mares, the foals from all the others.
  • The tour stopped at the barn where mares are checked in before breeding.
British Dictionary definitions for mares


the adult female of a horse or zebra
Word Origin
C12: from Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German mariha, Old Norse merr mare


/ˈmɑːreɪ; -rɪ/
noun (pl) maria (ˈmɑːrɪə)
(capital when part of a name) any of a large number of huge dry plains on the surface of the moon, visible as dark markings and once thought to be seas: Mare Imbrium (Sea of Showers)
a similar area on the surface of Mars, such as Mare Sirenum
Word Origin
from Latin: sea
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 mares



"female horse," Old English mere (Mercian), myre (West Saxon), fem. of mearh "horse," from Proto-Germanic *markhjon- (cf. Old Saxon meriha, Old Norse merr, Old Frisian merrie, Dutch merrie, Old High German meriha, German Mähre "mare"), said to be of Gaulish origin (cf. Irish and Gaelic marc, Welsh march, Breton marh "horse"). No known cognates beyond Germanic and Celtic. As the name of a throw in wrestling, it is attested from c.1600. Mare's nest "illusory discovery, excitement over something which does not exist" is from 1610s.

"broad, dark areas of the moon," 1765, from Latin mare "sea" (see marine), applied to lunar features by Galileo and used thus in 17c. Latin works. They originally were thought to be actual seas.

"night-goblin, incubus," Old English mare "incubus, nightmare, monster," from mera, mære, from Proto-Germanic *maron "goblin" (cf. Middle Low German mar, Middle Dutch mare, Old High German mara, German Mahr "incubus," Old Norse mara "nightmare, incubus"), from PIE *mora- "incubus" (cf. first element in Old Irish Morrigain "demoness of the corpses," literally "queen of the nightmare," also Bulgarian, Serbian mora, Czech mura, Polish zmora "incubus;" French cauchemar, with first element from Old French caucher "to trample"), from root *mer- "to rub away, harm" (see morbid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mares in Science
Plural maria (mä'rē-ə)
Any of the large, low-lying dark areas on the Moon or on Mars or other inner planets. The lunar maria are believed to consist of volcanic basalts, and many are believed to be basins formed initially by large impacts with meteoroids and later filled with lava flows. Compare terra.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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