mermaid

[mur-meyd]
noun
1.
(in folklore) a female marine creature, having the head, torso, and arms of a woman and the tail of a fish.
2.
a highly skilled female swimmer.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English mermayde. See mere2, maid

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Collins
World English Dictionary
mermaid (ˈmɜːˌmeɪd)
 
n
an imaginary sea creature fabled to have a woman's head and upper body and a fish's tail
 
[C14: from mere lake, inlet + maid]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mermaid
late 14c., mermayde, lit. "maid of the sea," from M.E. mere "sea, lake" (see mere (n.)) + maid (q.v.). O.E. had equivalent merewif (see wife). Tail-less in northern Europe; the fishy form is a medieval influence from classical sirens. A favorite sign of taverns since at least
1428. Merman is a later formation (1601).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

mermaid definition


A legendary marine creature with the head and torso of a woman and the tail of a fish; the masculine, less well-known equivalent is a merman. Though linked to the classical Sirens, mermaids may be nothing more than sailors' fanciful reports of the playful antics of dugongs or manatees.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

mermaid

a fabled marine creature with the head and upper body of a human being and the tail of a fish. Similar divine or semidivine beings appear in ancient mythologies (e.g., the Chaldean sea god Ea, or Oannes). In European folklore, mermaids (sometimes called sirens) and mermen were natural beings who, like fairies, had magical and prophetic powers. They loved music and often sang. Though very long-lived, they were mortal and had no souls

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
On the right is a pre-production plastic pellet also known as a mermaid's tear.
And the mermaid, or siren, will be freed from her circle.
He swam every morning, with a sturdy breaststroke far out to sea, the tattoo of a twin-tailed mermaid glistening on his shoulder.
For example, during a mermaid theme, kids can make a mermaid crown and necklace.
Images for mermaid
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