This word, as I want to use it, doesn't even appear in my dictionary, which admittedly is only a paper-back copy of the Oxford American Dictionary (Heald Colleges Edition). We usually know the word when used in a sentence such as "He is only a mere child".
But it has another meaning and it is a good, genuine word when used as in the title of this photograph:
British readers will know the word, I expect. It is another word for a kind of lake. So what is the difference between a mere and a lake?
The most simple answer is that a mere is a shallow lake. At Flamborough we had a mere on the village green for many years. It eventually disappeared, probably because the land was drained when new houses were built around the Green. I remember it as a fairly large body of water but very shallow, which sometimes almost dried up. The land was then muddy, boggy and swampy. When it had water, it wasn't deep enough to hold fish or sail a boat on unless it was a toy boat.
Hornsea Mere, just down the coast from Flamborough is in a whole different category. It is large enough to have a marina and a thriving sailing community. It is also a great bird migratory area and well known by avid birders. Hornsea Mere is the largest freshwater lake in Yorkshire. But it is still shallow.
In putting together this blog I learned something new about meres -- as well as a new word. A mere is a body of water that is broader than it is deep and it usually has a THERMOCLINE. This is a layer of water that is like a blanket that separates the cooler, deeper water from the surface water. Since a mere doesn't have much, if any deep water, the thermocline often mixes with the surface water. Sunlight and wind-waves affect the temperature of the water at the surface.
If the mere is deep enough to contain fish and you enjoy fishing, it is in and around the thermocline that you'll find them because that's where the oxygen is (nearer the surface) and where the fish will look for food.
So here ends your fishing lesson for the day. But more importantly we have learned at least two new words:
mere (if you didn't know it before) and thermocline.
This is my entry for ABC Wednesday, the fascinating project begun by Mrs. Nesbitt and now hosted by Roger Owen Green. Click HERE to see more entries in this project . You never know what weird and wonderful things you may find.