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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 ?
Guided by a sea turtle named Archibald and dolphin and merpeople friends, Athena survives a fascinating journey and visit to return safely to her human father after discovering her own mysterious undersea origin.
Taking his place alongside his rivals in a series of increasingly tricky and perilous challenges - snatching a golden egg away from a dragon, rescuing a treasure from the Merpeople, navigating a giant maze - Harry finally meets therejuvenated Voldemort (Fiennes) and his pernicious followers.
Harry swallows magic weed to help him swim to the bottom of Hogwarts Lake where the Merpeople are holding Ron (played by Rupert Grint) and Hermione (played by Emma Watson) as part of the competition.
Nia, a 16-year-old mermaid, wants to go through the trials to determine who will become an Avatar, a merperson who is joined with one of the Farworlder Kings who live in the ocean with the merpeople. Her cousin instead is chosen to represent the clan and Nia is devastated.
As Harry chases the riddles and takes on his magic foes, he gets led deeper and deeper into risk, encountering, among others, the scary Merpeople. To say any more would be to spoil the story.
"Spirits, Fairies, and Merpeople: Native Stories of Other Worlds" is a graceful, reverent retelling of seven separate First Nation tales involving elements of the supernatural.
Y OU may know Draco from Dumbledore, muggles from merpeople and kappas from kelpies.
Will the Flots survive?Or will Mr Harris' plans to sell them to a science experiment reap rewards?And what can the merpeople reveal about Toby's own hazy history?
Scary moments include a death, a graveyard battle between Harry and the Death Eaters, a confrontation with the fearsome Merpeople and bad language when Harry says "p*** off".