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mere mortal

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.
See also: mere, mortal

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.
See also: eye, twinkle

mere trifle

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!"
See also: mere, trifle

mere trifle

Fig. a tiny bit; a small, unimportant matter; a small amount of money. But this isn't expensive! It costs a mere trifle!
See also: mere, trifle
References in periodicals archive ?
In addition, it may not be beneficial for taxpayers to liquidate their Roth accounts at the merest hint that Congress is considering reneging because there would be uncertainty about whether this merest hint would develop into actual reneging.
Wood doesn't think we are angrier than we have ever been, or angry more often; he does think we express ourselves more angrily, more often, that at the merest provocation we act indignantly and speak harshly.
The merest hint he's actually not the most self-obsessed chairman/ owner in the country and he comes out with a scheme to shift Vlad from the top of the charts.
(2) A bomb placed around an individual's neck that can explode with the merest sudden movement (a device favoured by some terrorists).
A passage of deep blue paint covers the cheek while the merest suggestion of an eye gives way to dense brown fur, leaving the nose and forehead to decompose into permutations of acrid pink.
All the merciful deeds of these women added together might give the merest glimpse into the ocean of God's mercy.
"The Civil War amplified these basic dynamics," Berry writes, "borrowing against the enormity of death to transform Love, Sacrifice, and Belief from the merest platitudes into the constituting elements of a man's life" (p.
I still hold Mick Fleetwood and John McVie in idolatrous esteem as one of the very finest rhythm sections of the last 40 years, and Fleetwood's softly understated backbeat hasn't lost the merest measure.
the merest touch can be fraught with meaning and dangerous power.
weapons inspectors' inability to find the merest hint of a whisper of a scintilla of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as positive proof they were right: "See, we told you he was hiding them."
* "Although the British tabloids constantly throw out breathless stories at the merest hint of gayness, I think the British people are less horrified by the idea than the right-wing fundamentalist Christians who have become such a vocal part of American society."
"The merest schoolgirl, when she falls in love, has Shakespeare or Keats to speak her mind for her," Woolf wrote in On Being Ill (1930), newly back in print from the nonprofit Paris Press, "but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.
Just the merest touch of sweetness balanced by a great streak of acidity.
It might even provide a means of witnessing the universe at the merest instant after the Big Bang.
The Italian Renaissance without Boccaccio or Castiglione, da Vinci or Michelangelo, with only the merest hat-tips to the papacy, Naples or Milan - indeed, who's being left out now?