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A human, and therefore capable of mistakes. The phrase emphasizes someone's humanity and fallibility. I have to make my expectations more realistic and realize that she's a mere mortal. Presidents are bound to make mistakes—they're mere mortals, just like the rest of us.
1. An insignificant or unimportant thing or matter. A: "What do you make of the prediction that sales will take a steep drop next month?" B: "A mere trifle—if there is in fact a drop, it should have no bearing on our bottom line for the end-of-year profits." He dismissed the allegation as a mere trifle trying to distract from his campaign efforts.
2. A very small or trifling amount (of something). A: "No thank you, I couldn't eat another bite." B: "Oh, come now, it's just a tiny bit of chocolate—a mere trifle!" A: "I can't believe you would go out and buy a new car without consulting me!" B: "It only cost a mere trifle, so I didn't think you'd mind!"
when (one) was a twinkle in (one's) daddy's eye
At or before one was born. I never knew my grandparents—they died when I was a twinkle in my daddy's eye. I was editing this newspaper when you were just a twinkle in your daddy's eye, so don't presume to lecture me on proper grammar!
when (one) was a twinkle in (one's) father's eye
Before one was born. I never knew my grandparents—they died when I was a twinkle in my father's eye.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Fig. a tiny bit; a small, unimportant matter; a small amount of money. But this isn't expensive! It costs a mere trifle!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.