merely Definition

just; only.

Using merely: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "merely" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    I'm merely asking for your opinion.

  • Example

    The book is not merely a collection of poems but also includes essays and stories.

  • Example

    He was merely trying to help.

  • Example

    It's not merely a question of cost.

merely Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for merely

Phrases with merely

  • something that is certain to happen but has not happened yet


    It's merely a matter of time before we find out the truth.

  • a very small or insignificant amount compared to what is needed or required


    The amount of money we raised is merely a drop in the bucket compared to what we need.

  • to only deal with or understand a very small part of a subject or problem


    We've only scratched the surface of the problem. There's still a lot more to be done.

Origins of merely

from Old English 'ge-mǣrelic', meaning 'boundary, limit'


Summary: merely in Brief

The term 'merely' [ˈmɪrli] means 'just' or 'only'. It is used to emphasize that something is not more than what it appears to be, as in 'I'm merely asking for your opinion.' 'Merely' can be used in phrases such as 'merely a matter of time,' which means something is certain to happen but has not happened yet.

How do native speakers use this expression?