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

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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 His own expressed regrets about not having spent more time with his own father toward the end of his life might be a merciful guardrail for him. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "We Can Do Better Than More Suicide," 29 Mar. 2021 The dawn brings a new day and a merciful end to this story. Richard Rys, Vulture, "The Walking Dead Recap: Carol and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," 28 Mar. 2021 And then finally, the next day, the outside temperature reached a merciful 32 degrees. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "‘A stab in the heart’: Storm damage at Fair Park’s Hall of State put rare artifacts in peril," 26 Feb. 2021 But maybe, just maybe, the collective suffering is coming to a merciful end. New York Times, "That Strange Feeling Going Around New York Is Optimism," 23 Feb. 2021 Some teachers have been calling on colleagues to be more merciful while grading students, considering many of the hardships students are facing are out of their control. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sweetwater school board creates “no credit” grade option for students impacted by pandemic," 15 Dec. 2020 As Coulter continues her torture, Katja calls for death and Queen Ruta arrives in a blaze of speed and smoke to deliver her a merciful end. Lauren Morgan,, "His Dark Materials premiere recap: Lyra discovers the secrets of a new world," 17 Nov. 2020 But this is one area where real life is a bit more merciful than Pathologic. Eric Ravenscraft, Wired, "Pathologic Hits Different During a Real Pandemic," 17 Nov. 2020 The divisive presidential election comes to a merciful conclusion this week. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | REX NELSON: The pragmatists," 1 Nov. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of merciful

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for merciful

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for merciful

Last Updated

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Merciful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for merciful



English Language Learners Definition of merciful

: treating people with kindness and forgiveness : not cruel or harsh : having or showing mercy
: giving relief from suffering


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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