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

Thousands have taken to the streets of Peru in protest and three rival national team captains have signed a letter calling for leniency in the case of the Peruvian forward Paolo Guerrero. Henry Young, CNN, "Paolo Guerrero's shattered World Cup dream prompts calls for anti-doping reform," 22 May 2018 But on Twitter Monday, the president objected to Cohen’s lawyers requesting leniency in his sentencing based on his cooperation with multiple federal investigations. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Trump attacks Michael Cohen and praises Roger Stone in anti-Mueller tweets," 3 Dec. 2018 Green shouldn’t get the leniency to yell at officials that other players aren’t granted. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Draymond Green's outbursts at officials have hilariously inspired Channing Frye," 6 June 2018 Many white-collar prosecutions are built by charging people lower down in an organization and then ‘‘flipping’’ those defendants into prosecution witnesses to get leniency in their sentencing. BostonGlobe.com, "Special counsel Robert Mueller accuses Paul Manafort of trying to tamper with witnesses," 5 June 2018 And Jay Goldberg, a longtime attorney for Trump, expressed concern to CNN's Erin Burnett last week that Cohen will lie to prosecutors to get leniency on his own charges. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, "No need for Trump to pardon personal lawyer at this point, adviser says," 23 Apr. 2018 With his questions, Stevens tried to paint Forster as a meth addict with no credibility and with motivation to lie to get leniency for his own criminal conduct. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, "Bandidos’ secrets spilled by ex-national ranking member," 1 Mar. 2018 In a sentencing memo filed in federal court on Friday, Mr. Cohen’s lawyers cited their client’s contrition and his cooperation with law enforcement in their plea for leniency. Michael Rothfeld, WSJ, "Trump Again Blasts Michael Cohen, the Former Lawyer Who Broke With Him," 3 Dec. 2018 There are no mitigating circumstances here or a reasonable argument for showing unusual leniency. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s talk of pardoning Manafort is a clear abuse of power," 29 Nov. 2018

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

3 Mar 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

Comments on leniency

What made you want to look up leniency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to boil down or concentrate

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