Meaning of “merely” in the English Dictionary

"merely" in British English

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uk /ˈmɪə.li/ us /ˈmɪ

merely adverb (ONLY)

B2 used to emphasize that you mean exactly what you are saying and nothing more:

I wasn't complaining, I merely said that I was tired.
I didn't say that you had to go - I merely suggested that you might want to go.

More examples

  • The minister's speech had merely fogged the issue.
  • He called the new building unoriginal and said that it merely aped the classical traditions.
  • She didn't reply - she merely smiled that insinuating smile.
  • Of his origins he said very little, merely mentioning in parenthesis that his background was poor.
  • Patriarchy has not disappeared - it has merely changed form.

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

"merely" in American English

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merelyadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈmɪər·li/

only; and nothing more:

I merely said that I was tired.
These columns have no function and are merely decorative.

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