\ ə-ˈmərs How to pronounce amerce (audio) \
amerced; amercing

Definition of amerce

transitive verb

: to punish by a fine whose amount is fixed by the court broadly : punish

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Other Words from amerce

amercement \ ə-​ˈmər-​smənt How to pronounce amercement (audio) \ noun
amerciable \ ə-​ˈmər-​sē-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce amerciable (audio) , -​ˈmər-​shə-​bəl \ adjective

Did You Know?

If you break the law, you could find yourself "at the mercy" of the court. As you await your punishment (hoping that the judge will in fact be merciful), you may want to ponder the history of "amerce." It begins with the Old French phrase a merci, meaning "at (one's) mercy," which in turn gave rise to the Anglo-French verb amercier (same meaning as "amerce"). Middle English speakers adopted the French word as "amercien," which was later modernized to "amerce." In addition to the legal use, "amerce" can also be used in a more general sense for the infliction of any sort of punishment, monetary or otherwise.

First Known Use of amerce

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for amerce

Middle English amercien, from Anglo-French amercier, from Old French a merci at (one's) mercy

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The first known use of amerce was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Amerce.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

Comments on amerce

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to insert between existing elements

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