[ lee-nee-uh nt, leen-yuh nt ]
/ ˈli ni ənt, ˈlin yənt /


agreeably tolerant; permissive; indulgent: He tended to be lenient toward the children. More lenient laws encouraged greater freedom of expression.
Archaic. softening, soothing, or alleviative.

Origin of lenient

1645–55; < Latin lēnient- (stem of lēniēns), present participle of lēnīre to soften, alleviate, soothe. See lenis, -ent

Related forms

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

Examples from the Web for lenient

British Dictionary definitions for lenient


/ (ˈliːnɪənt) /


showing or characterized by mercy or tolerance
archaic caressing or soothing

Derived Forms

leniency or lenience, nounleniently, adverb

Word Origin for lenient

C17: from Latin lēnīre to soothe, from lēnis soft
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