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lenient

[lee-nee-uh nt, leen-yuh nt]
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adjective
  1. agreeably tolerant; permissive; indulgent: He tended to be lenient toward the children. More lenient laws encouraged greater freedom of expression.
  2. Archaic. softening, soothing, or alleviative.

Origin of lenient

1645–55; < Latin lēnient- (stem of lēniēns), present participle of lēnīre to soften, alleviate, soothe. See lenis, -ent
Related formsle·ni·ent·ly, adverbsu·per·le·ni·ent, adjectivesu·per·le·ni·ent·ly, adverbun·le·ni·ent, adjectiveun·le·ni·ent·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lenient

lenient

adjective
  1. showing or characterized by mercy or tolerance
  2. archaic caressing or soothing
Derived Formsleniency or lenience, nounleniently, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Latin lēnīre to soothe, from lēnis soft
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lenient

adj.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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