Word of the Day : August 22, 2016

lenient

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adjective LEEN-yunt

Definition

1 : exerting a soothing or easing influence : relieving pain or stress

2 : of mild and tolerant disposition; especially : indulgent

Did You Know?

Lenient is a word with a soothing history. It derives from the Latin verb lenire, meaning "to soothe" or "to soften" (itself from lenis, meaning "soft or mild"). The first, now archaic, sense of lenient referred to something soothing that relieved pain and stress. That meaning was shared by lenitive, an earlier derivative of lenire that was commonly used with electuary (a "lenitive electuary" being a medicated paste prepared with honey or another sweet and used by veterinarians to alleviate pain in the mouth). Linguists also borrowed lenis to describe speech sounds that are softened—for instance, the "t" sound in gutter is lenis. By way of comparison, the "t" sound in toe is fortis.


Examples

Because Kevin didn't have any past violations on his driving record, the officer decided to be lenient and let him off with a written warning.

"In February, he pleaded guilty to a bribery count and a tax count. His attorney … has said federal prosecutors have recommended a lenient sentence in exchange for his cooperation." — Jimmie E. Gates, The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi), 18 July 2016



Name That Synonym

Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of lenient: MLETENC.

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