- agreeably tolerant; permissive; indulgent: He tended to be lenient toward the children. More lenient laws encouraged greater freedom of expression.
- Archaic. softening, soothing, or alleviative.
Origin of lenient
Examples from the Web for lenient
The Jewish Week reported that sources said Hynes was expected to dispose of the case with a lenient plea deal.The Orthodox Sex Abuse Crackdown That Wasn’t
October 7, 2014
Caminero just sounds like a jerk, and his charge of criminal mischief almost too lenient.When Artists Attack—Themselves
February 20, 2014
The New York Times and The Guardian asked President Obama to be lenient on the leaker in two editorials Thursday.Michael Hayden, Ex-NSA Director, Says Clemency for Edward Snowden Is ‘Outrageous’ Idea
January 2, 2014
In other words, Berlusconi's trivialization of the Shoah and his lenient views regarding Mussolini are not uncommon.Why Do Italian Jews Tolerate Berlusconi's Trivialization of the Holocaust?
November 6, 2013
The dispute-resolution process is also too protracted, and the sanctions against offending parties too lenient.The Big Idea: How Commerce Spreads Contagion
January 18, 2013
The inferior clergy were by no means so lenient as the Bishop.The Works of Whittier, Volume VI (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
She laid a lenient tax upon the neighbors and the town below.Tiverton Tales
Now be lenient with me and don't get in a passion so easily, but be gentle like me.Albert Durer
T. Sturge Moore
Would you think it strange, your excellency, if they were not lenient?Daughters of the Revolution and Their Times
Charles Carleton Coffin
Therefore he asked that the magistrate would consider all this, and be lenient.The Soul of a People
- showing or characterized by mercy or tolerance
- archaic caressing or soothing
Word Origin and History for lenient
1650s, "relaxing, soothing," from Middle French lenient, from Latin lenientem (nominative leniens), present participle of lenire "to soften, alleviate, mitigate, allay, calm," from lenis "mild, gentle, calm," probably from PIE root *le- "to leave, yield, let go, slacken" (cf. Lithuanian lenas "quiet, tranquil, tame, slow," Old Church Slavonic lena "lazy," Latin lassus "faint, weary," Old English læt "sluggish, slow," lætan "to leave behind"). Sense of "mild, merciful" (of persons) first recorded 1787. In earlier use was lenitive, attested from early 15c. of medicines, 1610s of persons.