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 formsmer·ci·ful·ly, adverbmer·ci·ful·ness, nouno·ver·mer·ci·ful, adjectiveo·ver·mer·ci·ful·ly, adverbo·ver·mer·ci·ful·ness, noun

Synonyms for merciful

Antonyms for merciful Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mercifully

Contemporary Examples of mercifully

Historical Examples of mercifully

  • And she mercifully refrained from spoken pity, which he felt he could not have borne just then.

  • Mercifully, we could not see within that encircling wall of fire.

    Priestess of the Flame

    Sewell Peaslee Wright

  • And mercifully she ceased, perceiving that she had said enough.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • But his look was mercifully hidden from his victim by unconsciousness.

  • It is mercifully granted that the intensity of present suffering is not realized.

    David Dunne

    Belle Kanaris Maniates

British Dictionary definitions for mercifully



in a way that shows mercy; compassionatelymercifully put down
(sentence modifier) fortunately; one is relieved to say thatmercifully, all went well



showing or giving mercy; compassionate
Derived Formsmercifulness, 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

Word Origin and History for mercifully



mid-14c.; see mercy + -ful. Related: Mercifully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper