mercy

noun
mer·​cy | \ ˈmər-sē How to pronounce mercy (audio) \
plural mercies

Definition of mercy

1a : compassion or forbearance (see forbearance sense 1) shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power also : lenient or compassionate treatment begged for mercy
b : imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder
2a : a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion May God have mercy on us.
b : a fortunate circumstance it was a mercy they found her before she froze
3 : compassionate treatment of those in distress works of mercy among the poor
at the mercy of
: wholly in the power of : with no way to protect oneself against

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Other Words from mercy

mercy adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for mercy

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 mercy in a Sentence

He is a vicious criminal who deserves no mercy. She fell to her knees and asked for mercy. They came on a mission of mercy to provide food and medical care for starving children. It's a mercy that the building was empty when the fire started. Thank heaven for small mercies.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This post in particular explains that sinners should be awarded mercy not punishment for their wrongdoings. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "'Full House' Star Candace Cameron Bure Posts Cryptic Message After Lori Loughlin College Scandal," 14 Mar. 2019 Amid this harsh social justice, one may ask: What happened to social mercy? James Panero, WSJ, "Where’s the Mercy in ‘Social Justice’?," 23 Jan. 2019 The one small mercy for the hosts was that Uruguay failed to extend their lead before half time. SI.com, "Uruguay 3-0 Russia: World Cup Hosts Brought Crashing Down to Earth by Ruthless Uruguayans," 25 June 2018 Hereditary’s mercy, however, is in the lingering question of the particulars of the dog’s fate. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "Hereditary’s Single Bit of Mercy," 25 June 2018 Local women dropped to the ground and grabbed the sergeant’s legs, begging for mercy. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "The One Time American Troops Fought Russians Was at the End of World War I—and They Lost," 9 Nov. 2018 One of the movie’s most disturbing moments comes when the band has Jennifer tied up and begging for mercy. Constance Grady, Vox, "How Jennifer’s Body went from a flop in 2009 to a feminist cult classic today," 31 Oct. 2018 That makes them among the first consumer GPUs capable of keeping up with Nvidia’s beastly new $2,000 4K G-Sync HDR monitors, the Acer Predator X27 and Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, without begging for mercy—albeit at a hefty price. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti are loaded with boundary-pushing graphics tech," 20 Aug. 2018 Wherever there is true strength, there is also mercy. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Hinsdale American Legion restoring statue with new medallion, nearly 90 years after original was stolen," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mercy.' 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 mercy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for mercy

Middle English, from Anglo-French merci, from Medieval Latin merced-, merces, from Latin, price paid, wages, from merc-, merx merchandise

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Statistics for mercy

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mercy

The first known use of mercy was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for mercy

mercy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mercy

: kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly
: kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation
: a good or lucky fact or situation

mercy

noun
mer·​cy | \ ˈmər-sē How to pronounce mercy (audio) \
plural mercies

Kids Definition of mercy

1 : kind and forgiving treatment of someone (as a wrongdoer or an opponent) The prisoners were shown mercy.
2 : kindness or help given to an unfortunate person an act of mercy
3 : a kind sympathetic disposition : willingness to forgive, spare, or help “There is not a scrap of pity or mercy in your heart …”— Brian Jacques, Redwall
4 : a blessing as an act of divine love the mercies of God
5 : a fortunate happening It's a mercy that we arrived in time.
at the mercy of
: completely without protection from We're at the mercy of the weather.

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More from Merriam-Webster on mercy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mercy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mercy

Spanish Central: Translation of mercy

Nglish: Translation of mercy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mercy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mercy

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