mere·​ly ˈmir-lē How to pronounce merely (audio)
: nothing more than : only
was merely trying to help
… no boy wanted to be on record as considering a girl a major fox only to discover that she considered him merely cool.Richard Russo
Not merely decorative, the crisscrossing slats and fins variously filter light and provide privacy.Rob Haskell
Many merely desire a pleasant afternoon perusing the exhibitions in their local gallery.Launt Thompson
Many of the deep-sea fishes, for example, have pathetically weak skeletons and terribly flabby bodies—in extreme cases they are the consistency of gelatin and seem to be composed merely of mouth and stomach.Tim Flannery
… because of technology what in the past would have taken days took merely hours.Lee Child

Examples of merely in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But to the United Auto Workers president, the agreements that emerged from talks that were marked by six weeks of strikes were merely the start of a victory streak and a renaissance for the 88-year-old union. Tom Krisher, Fortune, 21 Nov. 2023 Was Pyongyang merely struggling to fine-tune existing capabilities over the three launches? Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 That was the consolation; the belief in Plains that their relationship, this love story, had merely paused. Rick Rojas, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 But the forceful declaration is merely the end of an ambivalent record, and, for critics, demonstrates her willingness to get in sync with the demands of the GOP base. Darius Tahir, CBS News, 20 Nov. 2023 Kitchen Tools, Beautiful and True A tool that works properly is beautiful; a tool that only looks beautiful is merely lovely. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 19 Nov. 2023 What This Means For You Not all AI is the same, and machine learning merely accelerates and catalogs data for more digestible use by physicians. Rachel Murphy, Verywell Health, 18 Nov. 2023 Our work is merely a first step toward documenting the cost — in dollars and human lives — of inaction on this issue. Hannah Neprash, STAT, 17 Nov. 2023 The caption is merely a 💕 emoji because, really, the photo speaks for itself. Marci Robin, Allure, 15 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1580, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of merely was circa 1580

Dictionary Entries Near merely

Cite this Entry

“Merely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on merely

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!