mercy, charity, clemency, grace, leniency mean a disposition to show kindness or compassion. mercy implies compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands it <threw himself on the mercy of the court>. charity stresses benevolence and goodwill shown in broad understanding and tolerance of others <show a little charity for the less fortunate>. clemency implies a mild or merciful disposition in one having the power or duty of punishing <the judge refused to show clemency>. grace implies a benign attitude and a willingness to grant favors or make concessions <by the grace of God>. leniency implies lack of severity in punishing <criticized the courts for excessive leniency>.