1 of 4


superlative merest
: being nothing more than
a mere mortal
a mere hint of spice
: having no admixture (see admixture sense 2) : pure
obsolete : being nothing less than : absolute


2 of 4

noun (1)

chiefly British
: an expanse of standing (see standing entry 1 sense 2) water : lake, pool
had seen several boats on an inland mereYale Review


3 of 4

noun (2)

: boundary
also : landmark


4 of 4

noun combining form

: part : segment

Examples of mere in a Sentence

Adjective the mere idea of your traveling alone to Europe is ridiculous
Recent Examples on the Web
For most mere mortals, clarity takes blood, sweat, and tears. Greg Orme, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Their rapport during our hourlong discussion elucidates that 41 is no mere business arrangement. Andre Gee, Rolling Stone, 29 Nov. 2023 The brightly colored buoy of the Southernmost Point (at Whitehead and South streets) marks the spot at which there are a mere 90 miles between the United States and Cuba. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 29 Nov. 2023 As Swift rolled into arena after arena, her mere presence boosted local economies and upended traffic patterns. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 29 Nov. 2023 Jewishness had to become American surreptitiously or by mere osmosis. Jesse Green, New York Times, 28 Nov. 2023 Speaking at Fortune’s Global Forum in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 27, Hasan revealed his company can now speed that process up into a time frame of mere months. Byeleanor Pringle, Fortune, 27 Nov. 2023 If the controlling factor is mere profit, look for the nightmare. WSJ, 27 Nov. 2023 Costing less than both Tylenol or Advil to produce (by some estimations, a mere five cents per pill), with further research, metformin could be a big player in doctor’s toolkits. Ali Finney, Vogue, 27 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mere.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Latin merus; akin to Old English āmerian to purify and perhaps to Greek marmairein to sparkle — more at morn

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English — more at marine

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Old English mǣre; akin to Old Norse landamæri borderland

Noun combining form

French -mère, from Greek meros part — more at merit entry 1

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mere was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near mere

Cite this Entry

“Mere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a sheet of still water : pool


2 of 2 adjective
superlative merest
: being only this and nothing else : nothing more than
a mere whisper
a mere child
merely adverb


Old English mere "lake, pool"


Middle English mere "nothing more or less than," from Latin merus "pure"

More from Merriam-Webster on mere

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!