From Middle English mereli, equivalent to mere + -ly.
merely (not comparable)
- (focus) Without any other reason etc.; only, just, and nothing more. [from 16th c.]
- (obsolete) Wholly, entirely. [16th–20th c.]
- 1644, John Milton, Areopagitica:
- It is not forgot, since the acute and distinct Arminius was perverted meerly by the perusing of a namelesse discourse writt'n at Delf, which at first he took in hand to confute.
- 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Slavery in Massachusetts:
- I am sorry to say, that I doubt if there is a judge in Massachusetts who is prepared to resign his office, and get his living innocently, whenever it is required of him to pass sentence under a law which is merely contrary to the law of God.
- (without any other reason): See also Thesaurus:merely
only, just, and nothing more
- Alternative form of merily