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

One effect of this parceling out was that reading the novel of adultery began to resemble committing adultery: the slow unfolding of a stranger’s character, the agonizing sense of being at the mercy of another’s whims. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "How Infidelity Helped Create the Novel," 2 May 2019 Once again, Williamson and Duke were at the mercy of an opponent’s last-second shot at the rim. Howard Fendrich, The Seattle Times, "Zion, Duke avoid upset, edge Virginia Tech 75-73 in NCAAs," 30 Mar. 2019 Departing without a plan to protect those interests risks leaving them at the mercy of whoever remains. Michael Singh, WSJ, "Beijing’s Curious Silence on the Syria Withdrawal," 8 Jan. 2019 Bring your own snacks to save some money and free yourself from the mercy of the lounge-car and dining-car hours. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "What it’s like to take a 35-hour ride on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train from Los Angeles to Seattle," 29 Mar. 2019 Most of the beating takes place off-camera from the perspective of Lenù, who absorbs Alfredo's cries for mercy and his wife's screams echoing through the church. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "My Brilliant Friend Producer Breaks Down the Violence of Episode 1," 19 Nov. 2018 No reply being received, a grenade was thrown inside, whereupon, a German crying for mercy quickly emerged from the smoke. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "If These Walls Could Talk: 7 Stories Of Connecticut Soldiers Who Left Their Names In French Caves," 25 May 2018 Great places to duck into for lunch when your credit card and your feet are begging for mercy? chicagotribune.com, "Secret Chicago: 40 of the city's best-kept mystery spots," 1 May 2018 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

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

13 May 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

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