- 1 used when you want to emphasize how small, unimportant, etc. someone or something is It took her a mere 20 minutes to win. A mere 2% of their budget was spent on publicity. He seemed so young, a mere boy. You've got the job. The interview will be a mere formality.
- 2used when you are saying that the fact that a particular thing is present in a situation is enough to have an influence on that situation His mere presence (= just the fact that he was there) made her feel afraid. The mere fact that they were prepared to talk was encouraging. The mere thought of eating made him feel sick. The merest (= the slightest) hint of smoke is enough to make her cough.
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NAmE//mɪr//(merest)[only before noun]