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[mur-si-fuh l] /ˈmɜr sɪ fəl/
full of mercy; characterized by, expressing, or showing mercy; compassionate:
a merciful God.
Origin of merciful
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300; See origin at mercy, -ful
Related forms
mercifully, adverb
mercifulness, noun
overmerciful, adjective
overmercifully, adverb
overmercifulness, noun
kind, clement, lenient, forgiving, benignant, tender, sympathetic.
cruel, relentless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mercifulness
Historical Examples
  • But there was no compassion, no mercifulness in their faces as they looked down at her.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • The brutality with which he spoke was so unnatural that it betrayed the mercifulness of his intention.

    The Explorer W. Somerset Maugham
  • The coroner then congratulates the parents on the “mercifulness” of the jury.

  • He will rule the world by mercifulness when we forgive each other, but not before.

    Serbia in Light and Darkness Nikolaj Velimirovic
  • They regarded humility and mercifulness as the greatest virtues.

    Serbia in Light and Darkness Nikolaj Velimirovic
  • And so with men, with or without their will, their mercifulness overpowers their logic.

    On Compromise John Morley
  • And not their mercifulness only, but all their good impulses overpower their logic.

    On Compromise John Morley
  • The mass of examples of Lincoln's leniency, mercifulness, and lack of rigor, lead one to believe he could not be inexorable.

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry L. Williams
  • Inquisitorial procedure was a miserable travesty of justice; and its mercifulness was forthcoming only on its own terms.

  • But gradually all mercifulness, all-pity, went out, and the fires which remained were not good to see.

    The Penalty

    Gouverneur Morris
British Dictionary definitions for mercifulness


showing or giving mercy; compassionate
Derived Forms
mercifulness, 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
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Word Origin and History for mercifulness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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