adjective, superlative mer·est.
- being nothing more nor better than: a mere pittance; He is still a mere child.
- pure and unmixed, as wine, a people, or a language.
- fully as much as what is specified; completely fulfilled or developed; absolute.
adjective superlative merest
- being nothing more than something specifiedshe is a mere child
- archaic, or dialect a lake or marsh
- obsolete the sea or an inlet of it
- archaic a boundary or boundary marker
- NZ a short flat striking weapon
adj.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). n.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”).