len·​i·​ty ˈle-nə-tē How to pronounce lenity (audio)
: the quality or state of being lenient : clemency

Example Sentences

a social critic who argues that judicial lenity is chiefly to blame for the increased criminality that plagues us
Recent Examples on the Web The majority’s treatment of the rule of lenity also strikes a slightly sour note. The Insider, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021 If the rule of lenity applies here, then Butler should not be charged with a hate crime. Mark Joseph Stern, Slate Magazine, 25 Apr. 2017

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

Word History

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lenity was in 1548

Dictionary Entries Near lenity

Cite this Entry

“Lenity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lenity. Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


len·​i·​ty ˈlen-ət-ē How to pronounce lenity (audio)
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