Online Encyclopedia

MERE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 160 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MERE. 1. (From Lat. merits, pure, unmixed; O. Fr. mier), But during the years when he was producing his finest novels an adjective primarily indicating something pure and unmixed; he was practically unknown to the public. In 1849 he married thus " mere wine " implied pure and unadulterated wine, as Mrs Nicholls, daughter of Thomas Love Peacock, the novelist, " mere folly " expressed folly pure and simple. Modern usage a widow, eight years his senior, whose husband had been accidenhas, however, given both to the adjective " mere " and the tally drowned a few months after her first marriage (1844), adverb " merely " a deprecatory and disparaging idea, so that and who had one child, a daughter; but their married life was expressions like " the mere truth," a " mere statement of fact," broken by separation; she died in 1861, and in 1864 Meredith &c., often convey the impression that they are far from being married Miss Vulliamy, by whom he had a son and daughter. " mere " in the sense of " entire " or " absolute," but are, on the His second wife died in x885. Up to that time there is little to contrary, fragmentary and incomplete. The earlier idea of the record in the incidents of his life; he had not been " discovered " word is retained in some legal phrases, especially in the phrase except by an honourable minority " of readers and critics. " mere motion," that is, of one's own initiative without help or It must suffice to note that during the Austro-Italian War of suggestion from the outside. Another legal phrase is " mere 1866 he acted as special correspondent for the Morning Post; right " (law Latin jus merum), i.e. right without possession. and though he saw no actual fighting, he enjoyed, particularly at 2. A word which appears in various forms in several Teutonic Venice, opportunities for a study of the Italian people which he and other languages; cf. Dutch and Ger. Meer. From the cognate turned to account in several of his novels. Towards the close Lat. mare are derived the Romanic forms, e.g. Fr. mer, Span. mar, of 1867, when his friend John Morley paid a visit to America, &c.; the word appears also in the derivative " marsh " for Meredith undertook in his absence the editorship of the Fort-" marish "; the ultimate origin has been taken to be an Indo- nightly Review for Messrs Chapman & Hall. They were not only European root, meaning " to die," i.e. to lie waste; cf. Sansk. the publishers of his books, but he acted for many years as their marts, desert), an arm of the sea or estuary; also the name literary adviser, in which capacity he left a reputation for being given to lakes, pools and shallow stretches of water inland. not only eminently wise in his selection of the books to be In the Fen countries a mere signifies a marsh or a district published, but both critical and encouraging to authors of nearly always under water. promise whose works he found himself obliged to reject. Thomas 3. (Derived from an O. Eng., source, maere, a wall or Hardy and George Gissing were among those who expressed boundary; cognate with Lat. mucus, a wall), a landmark or their grateful sense of his assistance. He was indeed one of the boundary, also an object indicating the extent of a property last of the old school of " publishers' readers." In his early without actually enclosing it. A special meaning is that of a married life he lived near Weybridge, and later at Copsham road, which forms a dividing line between two places. A between Esher and Leatherhead, while soon after his second " meresman " is an official appointed by parochial' authorities marriage he settled at Flint Cottage, Mickleham, near Dorking, to ascertain the exact boundaries of a parish and to report where he remained for the rest of his life. upon the condition of the roads, bridges, waterways, &c., Meredith's first appearance in print was in the character within them. In the mining districts of Derbyshire a mere is a of a poet, and his first published poem " Chillian Wallah," certain measurement of land in which lead-ore is found. may be found in Chambers's Journal for the 7th of July 1849. Two
End of Article: MERE
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ADALBERT MERE (1838-1909)

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