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mere1 / mi(ə)r/ • adj. that is solely or no more or better than what is specified: it happened a mere decade ago questions that cannot be answered by mere mortals. ∎  (the merest) the smallest or slightest: the merest hint of makeup. mere2 • n. chiefly poetic/lit. a lake, pond, or arm of the sea.

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mere1 † sea; lake. OE. mere, corr. to OS. meri sea (Du. meer sea, pool), OHG. mari, meri (G. meer), ON. marr sea, Goth. mari-, marei :- Gmc. *mari :- IE. *mori-; see MARINE.

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mere2 done without another's help XV; † unmixed, pure; † absolute, entire; that is only what it is said to be XVI. — AN. meer, OF. mier or its source L. merus not mixed, pure.
Hence merely XVI.

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