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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.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


half-woman, half-fish; seen by sailors. [western Folklore: Misc.]
See: Sea
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


an imaginary sea creature fabled to have a woman's head and upper body and a fish's tail
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Fort Lauderdale, FL, August 21, 2019 --( Lilly Pulitzer, a creator of authentic American Resort Wear known for its Bohemian spirit and popular prints has partnered with the 1000 Mermaids Project through their charitable Shop For A Cause program with 10% of proceeds from sales on the day of the event going to the project.
When we sit down on the deck to slip into our outfits, the kids flock to "Mermaid Cookie"; she's a natural entertainer who also appears at parties and events.
Mermaid Quay centre manager Justin Patel said: "Lego fans and visitors to the Bay will be able to let their imaginations run wild at our medieval fantasy land of ancient Welsh myths and legends."
In another tweet, Magalona expressed her disbelief that people are getting worked up over a black girl playing 'The Little Mermaid'.
Coney Island attracts thousands of people from all over the world to its Mermaid Parade every year.
Cosy Club's venue in Mermaid Quay, which created 40 new jobs, is the group's second site in the city.
The trust held its first Pirates and Mermaids evening at the venue on Friday, with plenty of activities for families.
On the one hand, the fickle mermaid and her menacing sister, the siren, seem to embody the threatening powers of the vast, unfathomable ocean, a locus of chaos, horror, and danger where humans can never feel safe, comfortable, or at home.
The Disney animated classic "The Little Mermaid", based on the fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, spurred new interest in the creatures and the way they swim in recent years.