The informal word mero is often used to emphasize the exactness of something. Let’s look at some common examples.
Several responses with mero communicate the idea of having hit the nail on the head.
- ¿En Irapuato? — Ahí mero. Yes, that’s right, we stayed in Irapuato. Good guess.
- Ese mero. Yes, the one you just mentioned. Exactly.
- Así mero quiero uno (igualito). I want a boyfriend who looks exactly like that. In response to the question Do you like the guy in that photo?
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If someone asks Quién lo agarró? (Who took it?) you could reply: — Yo mero. It was me. I’m the one. I took it, not someone else. Yours truly. Yo mismo.
A la mera hora
A la mero hora captures of the idea of but when the time finally came or at the last minute.
- Íbamos a ir a Six Flags pero a la mera hora tuvo que trabajar. We had plans to go to Six Flags but he got called into work at the last minute.
- … pero a la mera hora no quiso … but when we finally had the chance, she didn’t want to (have sex).
Ya mero means very soon, not much longer. Naturally, how much time constitutes very soon depends on the context, the speaker and their attitude towards time.
- Ya mero voy a tener para el enganche de una nueva (tele). Any day now, I’ll have enough saved up to make the down payment on a new TV. (movie dialogue)
- ¿A qué hora llega Julio? — Ya mero. He’s on his way. He should be here by now. Any moment now.
- When’s the baby due? — Ya mero. Any day now.
- When will you be back in Mexico City? — Ya merito. In two short months. Even though two months sounds like a long time, the speaker is choosing to emphasize its shortness. The diminutive -ito here softens the blow a bit.
As you can see, ya mero fits when something is almost ready, is about to happen or won’t be much longer. It’s commonly heard when something is taking longer than expected or you’ve already been waiting a while. When asked how much longer the order will be, a waiter might reply: Ya mero. It’s coming right up.
El mero Guauajuato
Many capital cities in Mexico share their name with the state they are in. For example, the capital of the state of Guanajuato is also called Guanajuato. Mero provides a common way to eliminate this ambiguity: el mero Guauanjuato means the capital city of Guanajuato, not the state itself. Ayer que le dije a Sergio que me iba a Francia, me dice: ¿Vas a la mera Francia? Apparently Sergio doesn’t know that the capital of France is not called France, but Paris.
El mero mero
El mero mero is a humorous way to refer to the person in charge, the boss, the leader, the chief, the top dog, the one calling the shots, and so on.
Here mero resembles its English counterpart, mere: Es un mero trámite. It’s just a formality (signing these papers), nothing more.