Definition of mercy
1a : compassion or forbearance (see forbearance 1) shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment begged for mercyb : 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
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.
Recent Examples of mercy from the Web
We were told that this Pope’s overriding theme was mercy.
Of course, all is at the mercy of the draw and Russia is seeded, as the tournament host.
As work on the Purple Line progresses, museum staff are ’a little nervous’ about what construction crews working on the Fairfax station will turn up The La Brea Tar Pits know no mercy.
Making America Great with love, compassion and mercy.
This month brings the gift of mercy, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of salvation.
Despite Trump’s Twitter silence throughout the hearing, the bar took mercy.
This anguished mercy killing haunts every beat of the movie.
The medical staff of mercy Clermont Hospital has awarded $18,000 in college scholarships to nine local high school students pursuing careers in health care.
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.
Origin and Etymology of mercy
Middle English, from Anglo-French merci, from Medieval Latin merced-, merces, from Latin, price paid, wages, from merc-, merx merchandise
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of mercy
MERCY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of mercy for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of mercy for Students
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.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up mercy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).