Definition of lenient
1 : of mild and tolerant disposition or effect : not harsh, severe, or strict lenient laws a lenient attitude
2 : exerting a soothing or easing influence : relieving pain or stress
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Examples of lenient in a Sentence
By giving one more person—the executive—the power to reduce (but not to increase) punishments, our constitutions (both Federal and state) seem to be sending an important message: that in a world in which errors are inevitable, it is better to err on the side of overly lenient, rather than overly harsh, punishment. —Alan M. Dershowitz, New York Times Book Review, 16 July 1989
He could trust himself, he said … to be more lenient than perhaps his father had been to himself; his danger, he said … would be rather in the direction of being too indulgent … —Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh, 1903
But in other points, as well as this, I was growing very lenient to my master: I was forgetting all his faults, for which I had once kept a sharp look-out. —Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847
a teacher who is lenient with students who have misbehaved
Many people felt that the punishment was too lenient.
Recent Examples of lenient from the Web
Grades are slightly curved to be more lenient on highly complex borders.
The notice of intent lists three prior cases in which Persky has given lenient sentences for violence against women to college athletes and a Silicon Valley engineer, and to a man convicted on a child pornography felony charge.
Restrictive rules pushed many investors to transfer their balances to other financial institutions with more lenient policies but with higher fees.
But the university has decided to start classes at 1 p.m. and is asking professors to be lenient on students who decide to take the full day to go see the eclipse, which will not be visible in its totality in Boise.
In a report released Wednesday, the auditor said the agriculture agency, which is tasked with ensuring companies that produce milk comply with standards to maintain Grade A classification, has been too lenient in its inspections.
Because savers have already paid taxes on money deposited in Roth IRAs, the Internal Revenue Service is more lenient about withdrawals.
Gonzalez, 26, of Miami, received a more lenient sentence of about five years in prison from a federal judge on Friday for his role in a $130 million healthcare fraud scheme led by his father-in-law, Reynaldo Castillo, 48.
Victims and their advocates have been outspoken recently about lenient sentences in sex abuse cases.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lenient'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Lenient is a word with a soothing history. It derives from the Latin verb lenire, meaning "to soothe" or "to soften" (itself from lenis, meaning "soft or mild"). The first, now archaic, sense of lenient referred to something soothing that relieved pain and stress. That meaning was shared by lenitive, an earlier derivative of lenire that was commonly used with electuary (a "lenitive electuary" being a medicated paste prepared with honey or another sweet and used by veterinarians to alleviate pain in the mouth). Linguists also borrowed lenis to describe speech sounds that are softened—for instance, the "t" sound in gutter is lenis. By way of comparison, the "t" sound in toe is fortis.
LENIENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of lenient for English Language Learners
: allowing a lot of freedom and not punishing bad behavior in a strong way : not harsh, severe, or strict
LENIENT Defined for Kids
Definition of lenient for Students
: being kind and patient : not strict a lenient teacher
Seen and Heard
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