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

  • n. Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power; clemency.
  • n. A disposition to be kind and forgiving: a heart full of mercy.
  • n. Something for which to be thankful; a blessing: It was a mercy that no one was hurt.
  • n. Alleviation of distress; relief: Taking in the refugees was an act of mercy.
  • idiom at the mercy of Without any protection against; helpless before: drifting in an open boat, at the mercy of the elements.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. relenting; forbearance to cause or allow harm to another
  • n. forgiveness or compassion, especially toward those less fortunate.
  • n. A tendency toward forgiveness, pity, or compassion
  • n. Instances of forbearance or forgiveness.
  • n. A blessing, something to be thankful for.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Forbearance to inflict harm under circumstances of provocation, when one has the power to inflict it; compassionate treatment of an offender or adversary; clemency.
  • n. Compassionate treatment of the unfortunate and helpless; sometimes, favor, beneficence.
  • n. Disposition to exercise compassion or favor; pity; compassion; willingness to spare or to help.
  • n. A blessing regarded as a manifestation of compassion or favor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To thank.
  • To fine; amerce.
  • n. Pitying forbearance or forgiveness; compassionate leniency toward enemies or wrongdoers; the disposition to treat offenders kindly or tenderly; the exercise of clemency in favor of an offender.
  • n. An act or exercise of forbearance, good will, or favor; also, a kindness undeserved or unexpected; a fortunate or providential circumstance; a blessing: as, it is a mercy that they escaped.
  • n. Pity; compassion; benevolence: as, awork of mercy.
  • n. Discretionary action; unrestrained exercise of the will and the power to punish and to spare: as, to be at one's mercy (that is, wholly in one's power).
  • n. To proclaim a tax.
  • n. Synonyms Clemency, etc. See leniency.
  • n. In criminal law, partial remission of a punishment to which a convict is subject, as distinguished from pardon, or total remission.

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

  • n. a disposition to be kind and forgiving
  • n. the feeling that motivates compassion
  • n. something for which to be thankful
  • n. alleviation of distress; showing great kindness toward the distressed
  • n. leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice


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

Middle English, from Old French merci, from Medieval Latin mercēs, from Latin, reward.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").



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  • affection, compassion, pity

    July 23, 2009