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
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 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 : compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor>
: wholly in the power of : with no way to protect oneself against
Examples of mercy
He is a vicious criminal who deserves no mercy.
She fell to her knees and asked for mercy.
They came on a mission of mercy to provide food and medical care for starving children.
It's a mercy that the building was empty when the fire started.
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
Rhymes with mercy
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up mercy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).