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in folklore, sea-dwelling creature commonly represented as having the head and body of a woman and a fishtail instead of legs. Belief in mermaids, and in their counterpart, mermen, has existed since earliest times. They are often described as having great beauty and charm, which they use to lure sailors to their deaths (see SirenSiren
, in Greek mythology, one of three sea nymphs, usually represented with the head of a woman and the body of a bird. Daughters of Phorcus or of Achelous, the Sirens inhabited an island surrounded by dangerous rocks.
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). In some legends they assumed human shape and married mortals (see MélusineMélusine
or Melusina
, in French legend, a fairy who changed into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. She married a mortal, Count Raymond, said to be the ancestor of the house of Lusignan, and made him promise never to visit her on that day.
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). The origin of the mermaid is thought by some to be the dugong (see sireniansirenian
or sea cow,
name for a large aquatic mammal of the order Sirenia. Living sirenians are the dugong and the manatee, both found in warm, shallow waters in sheltered regions, where they feed on seaweeds and seagrasses.
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What does it mean when you dream about a mermaid?

A mermaid or merman is a double symbol of our instinctual life because (1) a merperson is half animal, and (2) a merperson is at home in the water, a potent symbol of the unconscious. So a dream communication from a mermaid or merman is a message from a deeper part of ourselves.


half-woman, half-fish; seen by sailors. [western Folklore: Misc.]
See: Sea


an imaginary sea creature fabled to have a woman's head and upper body and a fish's tail
References in periodicals archive ?
When the cynical narrator sees the mermaids with her own eyes, the reader buys into the magic, too, setting skepticism aside for the anything-can-happen fun that's the reason many of us started reading fiction to begin with.
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The show is held thrice daily at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm featuring live mermaids swimming with sea creatures in an exotic marine environment that houses thousands of aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species including over 400 sharks and rays.
5million streams of mermaid-related video surfaced online, while Twitter erupted with posts about the show and the purported existence of mermaids.
All the Mermaids in the Sea is a romantic fantasy adventure of three generations of mermaids that are descended from King Valdemar I of Denmark, who was washed overboard in a violent storm as a young prince.
Residents of Coney Island in New York partied hard as mermaids and mermen, for the 30th anniversary of the island's Mermaid Parade.
Instead, the girlish Little Mermaid (Yuan Yuan Tan) must fend for herself in pursuit of the Prince (Tilt Helimets).
Elaine, 59, who lives in Whitley Bay, plans to fulfil a childhood dream by placing a mermaid sculpture on the Black Midden rocks at the mouth of the Tyne below Tynemouth Priory and Castle.
But if her mother was a mermaid, how could she possibly drown?
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