From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmeremere1 /mɪə $ mɪr/ ●○○ adjective (superlative merest) [only before noun, no comparative] 1 LITTLE/NOT MUCHused to emphasize how small or unimportant something or someone is She lost the election by a mere 20 votes. He’s a mere child. It can’t be a mere coincidence that they left at the same time.2 EFFECT/INFLUENCEused to emphasize that something which is small or not extreme has a big effect or is important The merest little noise makes him nervous. The mere thought of food made her feel sick. The mere fact that the talks are continuing is a positive sign.
Examples from the Corpusmere• In December he found Herbie Roberts, 21, an amateur wing-half from Oswestry, who cost a mere £200.• Admission costs a mere $5 for adults, and only $1 for children.• Most of the soldiers were mere boys.• Jobs requiring mere brawn are dwindling, replaced by lower-paid jobs requiring skill, education and a high degree of interpersonal polish.• If so, it is perhaps surprising that a threat of a mere breach of contract should give rise to liability.• How can you expect him to understand? He's a mere child.• His own, over the Ohio River at Wheeling, lasted a mere five.• I can hardly see that a mere frigate is going to inconvenience you to all that extent.• Yet some things that look like cynicism may be mere ineptness.• The mere mention of Ronan's name made her heart beat faster.• It was clearly something more than a mere mortal storm and in point of fact Juno was back of it.• Stock prices dropped at the merest rumor of a company takeover.• There have been reports that she is going to resign, but it's mere speculation at the moment.• The mere thought of drinking whiskey makes me feel sick.• Most of the opponents of enclosure at Nottingham were not, therefore, mere villains.mere coincidence• I didn't tell him about the handbill I had found; indeed, I quickly dismissed that as a mere coincidence.• It has happened too often to me to be mere coincidence.• Logic suggests this can not be reduced to mere coincidence.• That may be mere coincidence-but it is also perhaps symbolic.• Another mere coincidence, say school officials, adding that Tarkanian was adamant about having such a watchdog on staff.The mere fact• These schools were, for the most part, inferior. The mere fact of racial imbalance represented a form of inequality.• What had made him change his mind? The mere fact of Ryan's being in her cottage?meremere2 noun [countable] literaryALDN a lake
Examples from the Corpusmere• Next we have fisheries, such as the Cheshire meres, which are ideal environments for producing really big bream.• There is even a bird-enticing mere built especially for them, with islands, and high banks to keep out unwanted humans.• Some of the most famous big bream waters in Britain are the Cheshire and Shropshire meres.• I followed a path to the hide by the mere.• On several of the meres I fish I can tell to within a few minutes when I will get bites.Origin mere1 (1300-1400) Latin merus “pure, unmixed” mere2 Old English “sea, lake”