a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen in which a mermaid (=a woman with a fish's tail who lives in the sea) changes her fish's tail for legs, even though this is very painful, because she loves a human prince. But the prince marries a human princess instead, and the little mermaid dies.There is astatue of the Little Mermaid at the entrance to the harbour in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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