[ klem-uhn-see ]
/ ˈklɛm ən si /

noun, plural clem·en·cies.

the quality of being clement; disposition to show forbearance, compassion, or forgiveness in judging or punishing; leniency; mercy.
an act or deed showing mercy or leniency.
(of the weather) mildness or temperateness.

Nearby words

  1. clem,
  2. clemastine fumarate,
  3. clematis,
  4. clemenceau,
  5. clemenceau, georges,
  6. clemens,
  7. clemens, roger,
  8. clemens, samuel l.,
  9. clemens, samuel langhorne,
  10. clement

Origin of clemency

1375–1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin clēmentia. See clement, -cy

Related formso·ver·clem·en·cy, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clemency

British Dictionary definitions for clemency


/ (ˈklɛmənsɪ) /

noun plural -cies

mercy or leniency
mildness, esp of the weather

Word Origin for clemency

C15: from Latin clēmentia, from clēmēns gentle

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 clemency



1550s, "mildness or gentleness shown in exercise of authority," from Latin clementia "calmness, gentleness," from clemens "calm, mild," related to clinare "to lean" (see lean (v.)) + participial suffix -menos (also in alumnus). For sense evolution, cf. inclined in secondary meaning "disposed favorably." Earlier in same sense was clemence (late 15c.).

Meaning "mildness of weather or climate" is 1660s (a sense also in Latin); clement (adj.) is older in both senses, late 15c. and 1620s respectively, but now is used only in negation and only of the weather.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper