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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The weakness of the system was investors were at the mercy of the external market for Luna coins. Jon Markman, Forbes, 16 May 2022 In the ship’s darkest moment, while at the mercy of the sea, a savior arrived. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 15 May 2022 The balloonists are at the mercy of the weather, and particularly the wind. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, 12 May 2022 That means the region is entirely at the mercy of the sun and its heat, except where monsoon thunderstorms produce late-summer clouds. Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 Those who went into hiding were perhaps even more at the mercy of others. Ruth Franklin, The New York Review of Books, 11 May 2022 In the corner of the Estadio de la Céramica, the one left totally at the mercy of the elements, the fans started to unfurl their scarves. New York Times, 3 May 2022 The power of dealers For a long time, car dealers were largely at the mercy of automakers. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, 30 Apr. 2022 The movie 21 highlights the thrill of manufacturing luck with ingenuity and skill in a way anyone whose bank account has been at the mercy of Las Vegas casinos. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 30 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for mercy

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near mercy

mercury weed

mercy

mercy killing

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Statistics for mercy

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mercy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mercy. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for mercy

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on mercy

Nglish: Translation of mercy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mercy for Arabic Speakers

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