le·​nien·​cy | \ ˈlē-nē-ən(t)-sē How to pronounce leniency (audio) , -nyən(t)-sē\
plural leniencies

Definition of leniency

1 : the quality or state of being lenient the leniency of the punishment
2 : a lenient disposition or practice The prisoner asked the judge for leniency.

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Choose the Right Synonym for leniency

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

Examples of leniency in a Sentence

the defense requested leniency in light of their client's lack of a prior criminal record

Recent Examples on the Web

Confidential informants are usually criminals who police have arrested but later agree to provide information on other criminals in exchange for leniency. James Pinkerton, Houston Chronicle, "Houston police agree to turn over informant records for investigation into botched drug raid," 24 June 2019 In asking for leniency, Harris’ attorney, Brandy Brixy, said Harris witnessed abuse and trauma from a young age. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Teen given 35 years in prison for shooting that killed innocent bystander near police headquarters," 20 June 2019 Chuck Blazer, the former FIFA official and American football executive, pled guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy and money laundering and agreed to cooperate with the probe in exchange for leniency. Marlo Safi, National Review, "The Beautiful, Corrupt Game," 20 June 2019 That ruling relieved the government of its obligations under the deal, including any leniency in exchange for his cooperation in Mr. Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Paul Manafort Committed ‘Bold’ Crimes, Mueller’s Team Says," 23 Feb. 2019 In trials attended by the AP last year, Kurdish authorities showed leniency toward the mostly Arab suspects in a bid to build bridges with the majority Arab population. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syrian group wants international tribunal for IS detainees," 25 Mar. 2019 The judge received numerous letters of support and character references asking for leniency on their behalf. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Five people, 62 credit cards, and a nationwide fraud scheme stopped by Milwaukee investigators," 3 Apr. 2018 Lengthening probation for people who violate it Two bills would undo some of the leniency the criminal justice package gave to nonviolent offenders who violate parole. Julia O'donoghue, NOLA.com, "Louisiana lawmakers introduced bills to chip away at criminal justice overhaul: Here's a list," 20 Mar. 2018 Instead of information about the planet's changing geophysical status, users can find letters to creditors asking for leniency for NOAA employees falling behind on payments. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Government Shutdown Is Messing with North," 15 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leniency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of leniency

1753, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for leniency

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for leniency

The first known use of leniency was in 1753

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More from Merriam-Webster on leniency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leniency

Spanish Central: Translation of leniency

Nglish: Translation of leniency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leniency for Arabic Speakers

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characterized by aphorism

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