- compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.
- the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
- the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
- an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
- something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.
- at the mercy of, entirely in the power of; subject to: They were at the mercy of their captors.Also at one's mercy.
Origin of mercy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a female given name.
Examples from the Web for mercy
But give the Kingdom credit for its sense of mercy: The lashes will be administered only 50 at a time.In Defense of Blasphemy
January 9, 2015
If mercy is not preached by a national figure we take seriously, our battles over policy power will grow ever more merciless.
Policy is about wielding power, while mercy is about transcending power by renouncing it.
Canned drinks like Mercy contain up 5,000 percent of the daily value of certain vitamins.History's Craziest Hangover Cures
December 30, 2014
Patterson decided that meant they just left the eaglets at the mercy of whatever danger arose.He Faces Jail for Rescuing Baby Eagles
November 2, 2014
There, I thought I'd reveal the distressing truth about myself while I had you at my mercy.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
But the Marquis has no mercy on the performances of poor Miss Pardoe.
It was awful to Harriett that her father should be ill, lying there at their mercy.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
Oh, miss, ain't it a mercy everybody ain't so like your own!Weighed and Wanting
If you have forfeited man's respect and esteem, there is a God with whom there is mercy and forgiveness.Life in London
- compassionate treatment of or attitude towards an offender, adversary, etc, who is in one's power or care; clemency; pity
- the power to show mercyto throw oneself on someone's mercy
- a relieving or welcome occurrence or state of affairshis death was a mercy after weeks of pain
- at the mercy of in the power of
Word Origin and History for mercy
late 12c., "God's forgiveness of his creatures' offenses," from Old French mercit, merci (9c.) "reward, gift; kindness, grace, pity," from Latin mercedem (nominative merces) "reward, wages, pay hire" (in Vulgar Latin "favor, pity"), from merx (genitive mercis) "wares, merchandise" (see market (n.)). In Church Latin (6c.) applied to the heavenly reward of those who show kindness to the helpless.
Meaning "disposition to forgive or show compassion" is attested from early 13c. As an interjection, attested from mid-13c. In French largely superseded by miséricorde except as a word of thanks. Seat of mercy "golden covering of the Ark of the Covenant" (1530) is Tyndale's loan-translation of Luther's gnadenstuhl, an inexact rendering of Hebrew kapporeth, literally "propitiatory."
Idioms and Phrases with mercy
see at the mercy of.