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noun mer·cy \ˈmər-sē\

Simple Definition of mercy

  • : kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly

  • : kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation

  • : a good or lucky fact or situation

Full Definition of mercy

plural mercies

  1. 1 a :  compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; also :  lenient or compassionate treatment <begged for mercy> b :  imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder

  2. 2 a :  a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion b :  a fortunate circumstance <it was a mercy they found her before she froze>

  3. 3 :  compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor>

mercy adjective
at the mercy of
  1. :  wholly in the power of :  with no way to protect oneself against

Examples of mercy

  1. He is a vicious criminal who deserves no mercy.

  2. She fell to her knees and asked for mercy.

  3. They came on a mission of mercy to provide food and medical care for starving children.

  4. It's a mercy that the building was empty when the fire started.

  5. Thank heaven for small mercies.

Origin of mercy

Middle English, from Anglo-French merci, from Medieval Latin merced-, merces, from Latin, price paid, wages, from merc-, merx merchandise

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of mercy

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>.

Rhymes with mercy

Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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