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at the mercy of

Definition of at the mercy of

  1. :  in a position or situation in which one can be harmed by (someone or something one cannot control) <The people were at the mercy of the advancing army.> <Our plans were at the mercy of the weather.>

Word by Word Definitions

  1. :  compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power

    :  lenient or compassionate treatment

    :  imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder

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