mer·​ci·​ful | \ ˈmər-si-fəl How to pronounce merciful (audio) \

Definition of merciful

: full of mercy : compassionate a merciful ruler also : providing relief a merciful end

Other Words from merciful

mercifulness \ ˈmər-​si-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce merciful (audio) \ noun

Examples of merciful in a Sentence

He became less merciful to his enemies. He died a quick and merciful death.
Recent Examples on the Web The running time is only 94 minutes long, thus proving there may, in fact, be a merciful higher power out there. Jason Bailey, Rolling Stone, 13 May 2022 On April 6, 1815, after the Anglo-American war had ended but before the U.S. prisoners were officially freed, this merciful injunction acquired a bitter irony. Stephen Brumwell, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2022 The subsequent loss—completing a sweep that even the worst Nets pessimist wouldn’t have predicted—felt almost merciful. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 26 Apr. 2022 And is dementia, as a form of amnesia, actually merciful, at least for someone with Ptolemy’s memories—of lynchings, fires, an unfaithful wife ( Cynthia Kaye McWilliams ), friends long gone and justice denied? John Anderson, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2022 Their mastery since mid-February of reaching new nadirs has undermined the progress shown in the first half of the season and rendered the April 29 finale a beacon of merciful closure. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 29 Mar. 2022 His merciful understanding of literary characters revealed itself in his treatment of his friends and students. George Messenger, National Review, 20 Mar. 2022 Disney’s The Book of Boba Fett has reimagined a character that fans always viewed as a soulless bounty hunter, happy to work for the worst people in the galaxy, into a merciful crime lord with a heart of gold. Dani Di Placido, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 The day after another fiasco of a Giants season reached its merciful conclusion, with a 22-7 home loss to Washington that dropped their record to 4-13, the team embarked on another overhaul. New York Times, 10 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of merciful

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of merciful was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near merciful

merci beaucoup



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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Merciful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for merciful


mer·​ci·​ful | \ ˈmər-si-fəl How to pronounce merciful (audio) \

Kids Definition of merciful

: having or showing mercy or compassion a merciful ruler

Other Words from merciful

mercifully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb


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