Meaning of “mere” in the English Dictionary

american-english dictionary

"mere" in British English

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mereadjective [ before noun ]

uk /mɪər/ us /mɪr/

B2 used to emphasize that something is not large or important:

The plane crashed mere minutes after take-off.
It cost a mere 20 dollars.

used to emphasize how strongly someone feels about something or how extreme a situation is:

The mere thought of it (= just thinking about it) makes me feel sick.
People became excited at the mere mention of his name.
the mere idea/possibility/prospect of something

More examples

  • It took a mere five minutes for the world champion to dispose of his opponent.
  • His tumultuous triumph five years ago now seems a mere footnote in history.
  • The committee is a mere appendage of the council and has no power of its own.
  • She had that indefinable something that went beyond mere sex appeal.
  • A thousand pounds is a mere bagatelle to him.
  • The mere possibility of a tax increase was enough to enrage him.
  • Is it really possible that the mere presence of certain actors can doom a TV show?

(Definition of “mere” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"mere" in American English

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mereadjective [ not gradable ]

us /mɪər/

nothing more than; nothing more important than:

The mere fact that Greene plays for the Yankees gives him a lot of visibility.
The city receives a mere 20% of the parking revenues.

(Definition of “mere” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)