Mermaids whereas it has been thought they have been only the product of painters invention, itis confidently reported that there is in the following lake, fishes which differ in nothing from mankind but in the want of speech and reason. Father de Pavia, a missionary, being in the kingdom of Congo in Africa, who would not believe thta there were such creatures; affirms that the queen of Singa did see, in a river coming out of the lake Zaire, many mermaids something resembling a woman in the breasts, nipples, hands and arms; but the lower part perfect fish; the head round, the face like a calf; a large mouth, little ears, and round full eyes. Which creatures father Merula often saw ans eat of them.
Larrey in his Hist. d’Angleterre informs us that in the year 1187 such a monster was fish’d up in the county of Suffolk, and kept by the govenour for 6 months that nothing but speech was wanting to it; the conformity it bore to a man was such; that one day it took an opportunity of making its escape and plunged into the sea, and was never after seen.
And in the year 1430 the dikes of Holland being broken down by a violent tempest, the sea overflow’d the meadows, and some maidens of the town of Edam in west Friezland going in a boat to milk their cows, espied a mermaid embarrass’d in the mud, the water being very shallow, they took it into their boat and brought it to Edam, and dress’d it in womans apparel, and taught it to spin. It eat as they did but could never be brought to speak. It was afterwards carried to Harlem, where it liv’d for some years, tho still shewing an inclination to water.
Parival relates that they had convey’d to it some notions of a deity, and that it made its reverences very devoutly whenever it pass’d by a crucifix.
It is also related that near the island Manar on the western coast of the island of Ceylon 7 Mermen and maids were brought uup at one draught of a net by the fishermen which several jesuits and Hen. Henreiques and Dimas Bosques physicians to the viceroy of Goa saw, and that these creatures being dissected all their parts both internal and external were found exactly conformable to those of men. Another creature of the same species was in the year 1531 caught in the Baltick and sent as a present to Sigismund the king of Poland, with whom it liv’d 3 days and was seen by all the court.

Definition taken from The Universal Etymological English Dictionary, edited by Nathan Bailey (1736)

Mermaid [with Heralds] * Meroˊbibe
Mercaˊtor’s Chart
Mercatorsˊs Sailing
Mercatōˊrum Festum
Meekness [in Painting and Sculpture]
Meˊlon [in Fortification]
Mermaid [with Heralds]
Mouraiˊlle [with Horsemen]
Muˊsquash [in several parts of America]