as in mercy
kind, gentle, or compassionate treatment especially towards someone who is undeserving of it the defense requested leniency in light of their client's lack of a prior criminal record

Synonyms & Similar Words


Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun leniency differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of leniency are charity, clemency, grace, and mercy. While all these words mean "a disposition to show kindness or compassion," leniency implies lack of severity in punishing.

criticized the courts for excessive leniency

When is charity a more appropriate choice than leniency?

The synonyms charity and leniency are sometimes interchangeable, but charity stresses benevolence and goodwill shown in broad understanding and tolerance of others.

show a little charity for the less fortunate

When can clemency be used instead of leniency?

While in some cases nearly identical to leniency, clemency implies a mild or merciful disposition in one having the power or duty of punishing.

the judge refused to show clemency

In what contexts can grace take the place of leniency?

While the synonyms grace and leniency are close in meaning, grace implies a benign attitude and a willingness to grant favors or make concessions.

by the grace of God

When might mercy be a better fit than leniency?

The meanings of mercy and leniency largely overlap; however, mercy implies compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands it.

threw himself on the mercy of the court

Thesaurus Entries Near leniency

Cite this Entry

“Leniency.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/leniency. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

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