from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The condition or quality of being lenient; leniency. See Synonyms at mercy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. leniency
  • n. mercy
  • n. forgiveness

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state or quality of being lenient; mildness of temper or disposition; gentleness of treatment; softness; tenderness; clemency; -- opposed to severity and rigor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Mildness of temper; softness; tenderness; mercy.
  • n. See leniency.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. mercifulness as a consequence of being lenient or tolerant


Latin lēnitās, from lēnis, soft; see lē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • Ah, nothing like your general reminder not to rape and pillage to keep a person civilized. ;-)

    October 25, 2007

  • "For when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom,
    The gentler gamester is the soonest winner."
    --Shakespeare, Henry V, I don't know what act or scene but I remember it well--the one when Bardolph is hanged, and Henry commands (reminds?) his troops not to rape and pillage across the French countryside--"and none of the French upbraided or abused with disdainful language..."

    October 25, 2007

  • A more graceful word for leniency.

    October 25, 2007