• synonyms


[mur-si-fuh l]
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  1. full of mercy; characterized by, expressing, or showing mercy; compassionate: a merciful God.
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Origin of merciful

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at mercy, -ful
Related formsmer·ci·ful·ly, adverbmer·ci·ful·ness, nouno·ver·mer·ci·ful, adjectiveo·ver·mer·ci·ful·ly, adverbo·ver·mer·ci·ful·ness, noun


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kind, clement, lenient, forgiving, benignant, tender, sympathetic.


cruel, relentless.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mercifully

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And she mercifully refrained from spoken pity, which he felt he could not have borne just then.

  • Mercifully, we could not see within that encircling wall of fire.

    Priestess of the Flame

    Sewell Peaslee Wright

  • And mercifully she ceased, perceiving that she had said enough.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • But his look was mercifully hidden from his victim by unconsciousness.

  • It is mercifully granted that the intensity of present suffering is not realized.

    David Dunne

    Belle Kanaris Maniates

British Dictionary definitions for mercifully


  1. in a way that shows mercy; compassionatelymercifully put down
  2. (sentence modifier) fortunately; one is relieved to say thatmercifully, all went well
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  1. showing or giving mercy; compassionate
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Derived Formsmercifulness, noun
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 mercifully



mid-14c.; see mercy + -ful. Related: Mercifully.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper