- The definition of mercy is compassionate treatment, having a capacity to forgive or showing kindness.
An example of mercy is giving someone a milder punishment than they deserve because they are elderly.
- a refraining from harming or punishing offenders, enemies, persons in one's power, etc.; kindness in excess of what may be expected or demanded by fairness; forbearance and compassion
- imprisonment rather than the death penalty imposed on those found guilty of capital crimes
- a disposition to forgive, pity, or be kind
- the power to forgive or be kind; clemency: to throw oneself on the mercy of the court
- kind or compassionate treatment; relief of suffering
- a fortunate thing; thing to be grateful for; blessing: a mercy he wasn't killed
Origin of mercyOld French merci ; from Classical Latin merces, hire, payment, reward (in Late Latin mercy, pity, favor) ; from merx, wares: see market
at the mercy of
- Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power; clemency.
- A disposition to be kind and forgiving: a heart full of mercy.
- Something for which to be thankful; a blessing: It was a mercy that no one was hurt.
- Alleviation of distress; relief: Taking in the refugees was an act of mercy.
Origin of mercyMiddle English, from Old French merci, from Medieval Latin mercēs, from Latin, reward.
(countable and uncountable, plural mercies)
- (uncountable) relenting; forbearance to cause or allow harm to another
- She took mercy on him and quit embarrassing him.
- (uncountable) forgiveness or compassion, especially toward those less fortunate.
- Have mercy on the poor and assist them if you can.
- (uncountable) A tendency toward forgiveness, pity, or compassion
- Mercy is one of his many virtues.
- (countable) Instances of forbearance or forgiveness.
- Psalms 40:11 Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord
- A blessing, something to be thankful for.
- It was a mercy that we were not inside when the roof collapsed
- (phrasal) Subjugation, power.
From Middle English merci, from Anglo-Norman merci (compare Old French merci, mercit), from Latin mercēdem, accusative of mercēs (“wages, fee, price”), from merx (“wares, merchandise”). Displaced native Middle English are, ore "mercy" (from Old English ār "mercy, grace"), Middle English mildse "mercy, clemency" (from Old English milds, milts "mercy, kindness").