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Merrie England

may probably mean “illustrious,” from the old Teutonic mer. (Anglo-Saxon, &maera;, famous.) According to R. Ferguson, the word appears in the names Marry, Merry, Merick; the French Méra, Méreau, Merey, Mériq; and numerous others. (Teutonic Name-System, p. 368.) (See below Merry.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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