Top definition
A lifelike miniature model of a mermaid floating in a sealed jar, meant as an amusing toy or circus attraction, to create the illusion that a real mermaid has been captured. It is primarily an anachronism dating from early European colonialism and its sea-spanning knick-knack industries, and has since acquired vaguely occult connotations.

Sometimes the phrase is borrowed by clever marketers, such as for items in restaurant menus.
Robert loved the museum: the frail mummies and immense sarcophagi; the stuffed platypus and pickled mermaid; the wall bristling with elephant tusks and moose antlers and unicorn horns. -- "Stories of Your Life and Others" by Ted Chiang
by Majel J.E. September 26, 2007
Mug icon

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug