Mer"maid (?), n. [AS. mere lake, sea. See Mere lake, and maid.]
A fabled marine creature, typically represented as having the upper part like that of a woman, and the lower like a fish; a sea nymph, sea woman, or woman fish.
⇒ Chaucer uses this word as equivalent to the siren of the ancients.
Mermaid fish Zool. the angel fish (Squatina). -- Mermaid's glove Zool., a British branched sponge somewhat resembling a glove. -- Mermaid's head Zool., a European spatangoid sea urchin (Echinocardium cordatum) having some resemblance to a skull. -- Mermaid weed Bot., an aquatic herb with dentate or pectinate leaves (Proserpinaca palustris and P. pectinacea).
© Webster 1913.