- 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 mercÄ“dem, accusative of mercÄ“s (â€œwages, fee, priceâ€), from merx (â€œwares, merchandiseâ€). Displaced native Middle English are, ore "mercy" (from Old English Är "mercy, grace"), Middle English mildse "mercy, clemency" (from Old English milds, milts "mercy, kindness").