November 15, 2017
mere (adjective)
\MEER\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: being only this and nothing else : nothing more than
How do you use it?
"Stanley couldn't help but think that there was something special about the shoes, that they would somehow provide the key to his father's invention. It was too much of a coincidence to be a mere accident." (Louis Sachar, _Holes_)
Are you a word wiz?

The adjective "mere" has another meaning that is older than the meaning we have given you in the definition. What do you think this earlier meaning of the word "mere" is?

The answer is nothing more than D: "pure." The English adjective "mere" traces back to the Latin word "merus," which means "pure." When "mere" began being used in Modern English, it was used to refer to something that was not mixed with other things. By the fifteenth century, the idea of something being pure was extended to the sense we are familiar with today, "nothing more than" and "being only this and nothing else."
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