Which Joe gave his name to ‘sloppy joes’? We look at five interesting sandwiches and their lexical origins.
1[attributive] Used to emphasize how small or insignificant someone or something is:‘questions that cannot be answered by mere mortals’‘the city is a mere 20 minutes from some stunning countryside’
trifling, meagre, bare, trivial, paltry, basic, scant, scanty, skimpy, minimal, slenderView synonyms
- ‘And the only way to do it is to keep writing, no matter how insignificant you think your mere words are.’
- ‘On one side, it reduces the people depicted to mere entertainment value, insignificant frogs meant only for visual dissection.’
- ‘Yesterday's rally was part explained by slightly better US manufacturing data, suggesting the battered sector might be showing a mere hint of improvement.’
- ‘Kael felt his cheeks heat up at the mere hint of the heated promise in Sully's voice, and he cursed the blush, shaking his head and looking away to hide it.’
- ‘The golfer shows a hint of mere mortality as his second from the rough at the 10th pulls up short of the green.’
- ‘These numbers are mere hints of the incalculable losses to the city that is still reeling as we enter the third year since that day of doom.’
- ‘After all, just how likely is it that some amateur could detect and disprove the so-called hoax in a mere six minutes, when trained professionals had taken it at face value?’
- ‘However, a mere two minutes later, Partick were back on level terms.’
- ‘If you are already groaning with boredom at the mere hint of another mention of Big Brother, I'm sorry about that.’
- ‘Yet, at a mere ten minute's walk from the city centre, and just opposite Fishergate bar and the now-closed Barbican, it is not far off the beaten track.’
- ‘A new job and house came in quick succession, and I found myself in a beautiful terraced ‘cottage’; a mere ten minutes stroll from the city centre.’
- ‘A mere hint of the enormity of what lay ahead was at Brookhaven in Mississippi, my first stop on the Lampton / Lambton trail.’
- ‘In order to peak for the Games, however, they reduce their training time to mere minutes in the days preceding their events while keeping the calorie count virtually constant.’
- ‘‘I'm open-minded,’ he said, looking down at his shoes, the mere hint of a smile playing on his lips.’
- ‘The sangria was way too sugary and sweet with mere hint of wine and no trace of liquor.’
- ‘The mere hint of a cold does not require a week off work with ‘the flu’.’
- ‘On mere mortals, eye makeup always seems to slide off or crease, leaving the wearer looking like a laboratory test gone wrong.’
- ‘They are observed, your Honour, for a number of reasons, some of which may be historical, but basically they are mere insignificant courtesies.’
- ‘Apple candy, cotton wool, melon and a mere hint of liquorice.’
- ‘These snatches are mere hints not out and out plagiarism, and most people would, perhaps, not notice them.’
- 1.1 Used to emphasize that the fact of something being present in a situation is enough to influence that situation:‘his stomach rebelled at the mere thought of food’
- ‘Consequently, the mere fact of life is not enough and public health medicine has become concerned with making people healthier while alive as well as preventing them from dying prematurely.’
- ‘Is the mere fact that people can do this reason enough to do it?’
- ‘He testified that the Hells Angels organization has a reputation for violence and intimidation, such that the mere fact of being a member is enough to intimidate others.’
- ‘Where the behaviour of those concerned is lawful and peaceful the mere fact that others may object to it is not enough to justify an arrest.’
- ‘The mere fact of his going to university - the only student on his estate to do so and the first blind student at Sheffield University - would have been a remarkable achievement.’
- ‘The permanent features of our situation seem mere brute facts - to be endured or, if possible, gotten around.’
- ‘Both my brother and sister call them that too, and in fact the mere idea of calling my mother ‘mum’ seems really weird, like I'm talking about someone else entirely.’
- ‘The mere fact of its longevity is proof enough for some of its divine origins.’
- ‘Apart from the fact that his mere presence attracted a crowd of over 24,000, as well as live coverage on ABC television, he didn't make much of an impact on the game.’
- ‘The mere fact that sickness levels require wholescale investigation suggests managers are unable to explain what happens within their areas of responsibility.’
- ‘Even if there are no risks at all to nearby residents and schoolchildren from dangerous radiation emissions, the mere fact that the mast is there at all could be cited as a health risk to those prone to excessive fretting.’
- ‘Bakhtin also consistently emphasizes that the mere fact of a relation does not necessarily guarantee truth or meaning.’
- ‘I say ‘probably’ because the mere fact of his departure will be seen by many as an admission of guilt - though history will have to judge the precise nature of his offence.’
- ‘I think the mere fact of wanting to own lots of weapons is enough for me to think that perhaps you shouldn't.’
- ‘Whatever the problems with the present system, and there are many, the mere fact that there are now instruments tabulating human rights and fundamental freedoms is, in itself, a success.’
- ‘To hold otherwise would be, in effect,… to convict a man on his thoughts, unaccompanied by any physical act other than the fact of his mere presence.’
- ‘He added: ‘The mere fact that you conclude that she was suspicious or even very suspicious or ought to have been suspicious is not enough.’’
- ‘It's as realistic as insisting that history should be totally objective, when in reality we know that the mere fact of choosing what to record and what to disregard instantly makes it subjective.’
- ‘The mere fact that people get convictions wrong and people after serving 30 years or so walk free, should be a strong enough argument to deter anyone who think we should bring back capital punishment.’
- ‘The mere fact that they were his enemies was reason enough.’
Late Middle English (in the senses ‘pure’ and ‘sheer, downright’): from Latin merus undiluted.
A lake or pond:‘the stream widens into a mere where hundreds of geese gather’[in place names] ‘Hornsea Mere’
- ‘Little grebes breed on ponds, small lakes and meres, flooded gravel pits and beet factory settling ponds.’
- ‘Waters to head for include canals, rivers, gravel pits, lakes, ponds, meres and reservoirs.’
Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch meer lake and German Meer sea, from an Indo-European root shared by Russian more and Latin mare.
A Maori war club, especially one made of greenstone.
- ‘This replicates a traditional Maori War Club used by Maori warriors of old.’
- ‘A Maori warrior made his mere of greenstone, an igneous rock, and ground one side to a sharp edge.’
- ‘The Mere (traditional Maori club) buried in the whales tail is a symbolic act of war.’
We take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, discover surprising and intriguing language facts from around the globe.
The definitions of ‘buddy’ and ‘bro’ in the OED have recently been revised. We explore their history and increase in popularity.