mermaid (n.) mid-14c., mermayde, lit. "maid of the sea," from Middle English mere "sea, lake" (see MERE (Cf. mere) (n.)) + MAID (Cf. maid). Old English had equivalent merewif "water-witch" (see WIFE (Cf. wife)), meremenn "mermaid, siren." Tail-less in northern Europe; the fishy form is a medieval influence from classical sirens. A favorite sign of taverns and inns since at least early 15c. (in reference to the inn on Bread Street, Cheapside, London). Mermaid pie (1660s) was "a sucking pig baked whole in a crust."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mermaid — Mer maid, n. [AS. mere lake, sea. See {Mere} lake, and {maid}.] A fabled marine creature, typically represented as having the upper part like that of a woman, and the lower like a fish; a sea nymph, sea woman, or woman fish. [1913 Webster] Note:… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • mermaid — ► NOUN ▪ a mythical sea creature with a woman s head and trunk and a fish s tail. ORIGIN from MERE(Cf. ↑mere) (in the obsolete sense sea ) + MAID(Cf. ↑maid) …   English terms dictionary

  • mermaid — [mʉr′mād΄] n. [ME mermayde: see MERE2 & MAID] 1. an imaginary sea creature with the head and upper body of a beautiful woman and the tail of a fish 2. a girl or woman who swims well …   English World dictionary

  • Mermaid — For other uses, see Mermaid (disambiguation). Mermaid A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse Mythology World mythology Grouping Mythological S …   Wikipedia

  • Mermaid — Modellboot der Mermaid III Unter dem Namen Mermaid (engl.: Meerjungfrau) entwickelte und produzierte das Karlsruher Unternehmen Bruker Meerestechnik ab 1969 verschiedene Typen von Forschungs U Booten. Die 1971 vom Stapel gelassene Mermaid I… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • mermaid — /merr mayd /, n. 1. (in folklore) a female marine creature, having the head, torso, and arms of a woman and the tail of a fish. 2. a highly skilled female swimmer. [1300 50; ME mermayde. See MERE2, MAID] * * * ▪ legendary being masculine  merman  …   Universalium

  • mermaid — [14] A mermaid is literally a ‘seamaiden’. The word was coined on the basis of English mere [OE], which is now a little used term for ‘lake’, but originally denoted ‘sea’ (it came ultimately from Indo European *mori , *mari ‘sea’, which also… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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