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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
  • The mercifulness of this punishment is seen in its power in thus effectively stopping the tendency to crime.

    A Plea for the Criminal James Leslie Allan Kayll
  • The brutality with which he spoke was so unnatural that it betrayed the mercifulness of his intention.

    The Explorer W. Somerset Maugham
  • They regarded humility and mercifulness as the greatest virtues.

    Serbia in Light and Darkness Nikolaj Velimirovic
  • Inquisitorial procedure was a miserable travesty of justice; and its mercifulness was forthcoming only on its own terms.

  • That mercifulness wipes out and washes away sins, as salves and remedies to heal sores and grievous diseases.

    Apologia Pro Vita Sua John Henry Cardinal Newman
  • That mercifulness wipes out and washes away infirmity and weakness as salves and remedies to heal sores and grievous diseases.

    Apologia pro Vita Sua John Henry Newman
  • He philosophized the mercifulness of the fact, and of the ignorance of most of us, when mortally sick or fatally wounded.

    Literary Friends And Acquaintances William Dean Howells
  • The coroner then congratulates the parents on the “mercifulness” of the jury.

  • Now, then, when our fathers put their hands on the son of a poor woman, God deprived us of his mercifulness and support and lo!

    Caucasian Legends A. Goulbat
  • Nor is it every thing in God that is hated: none hateth his mercifulness and goodness as such.

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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