[ uh-murs ]
/ əˈmɜrs /

verb (used with object), a·merced, a·merc·ing.

to punish by imposing a fine not fixed by statute.
to punish by inflicting any discretionary or arbitrary penalty.


Nearby words

  1. amental,
  2. amentia,
  3. amentiferous,
  4. amer.,
  5. amerasian,
  6. america,
  7. america first committee,
  8. america firster,
  9. america's cup,
  10. american

Origin of amerce

1250–1300; Middle English amercy < Anglo-French amerci(er) to fine, representing (estre) a merci (to be) at (someone's) mercy. See a-5, mercy

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for amerce

  • But perhaps I could pay you a mina of silver: in that sum, then, I amerce myself.

  • Nay, but they will hold thee to ransom, and detain thee till it is brought: I heard them amerce thee at a thousand marks.

  • In your greatness ye shall change it; with your justice ye shall purify it; with your clemencies ye should it chasten and amerce.

    Privy Seal|Ford Madox Ford
  • I amerce myself, then, to you in that sum; and they will be sufficient sureties for the money.

British Dictionary definitions for amerce


/ (əˈmɜːs) /

verb (tr) obsolete

law to punish by a fine
to punish with any arbitrary penalty
Derived Formsamerceable, adjectiveamercement, nounamercer, noun

Word Origin for amerce

C14: from Anglo-French amercier, from Old French à merci at the mercy (because the fine was arbitrarily fixed); see mercy

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 amerce


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper