Word forms: merest
DefinitionsMere does not have a comparative form. The superlative form merest is used to emphasize how small something is, rather than in comparisons.
1. adjective [ADJ n] You use mere to emphasize how unimportant or inadequate something is, in comparison to the general situation you are describing. [emphasis] ⇒ ...successful exhibitions which go beyond mere success. ⇒ There is more to good health than the mere absence of disease. ⇒ In Poland, the faith has always meant more than mere religion. ⇒ She'd never received the merest hint of any communication from him. 2. adjective [ADJ n]
You use mere to indicate that a quality or action that is usually unimportant has a very important or strong effect. ⇒ The mere mention of food had triggered off hunger pangs. ⇒ Whenever there was a gap in the traffic the merest pressure on the accelerator was enough to close it. ⇒ The team manager has been quick to clamp down on the merest hint of complacency.
You use mere to emphasize how small a particular amount or number is. [emphasis] ⇒ Sixty per cent of teachers are women, but a mere 5 percent of women are heads and deputies. ⇒ Tickets are a mere £7.50 at the door. ⇒ For the past two decades, North Carolina taxed cigarettes at a mere 2 cents a packet.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers