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  1. without mercy; having or showing no mercy; pitiless; cruel: a merciless critic.
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Origin of merciless

First recorded in 1300–50, merciless is from the Middle English word mercyles. See mercy, -less
Related formsmer·ci·less·ly, adverbmer·ci·less·ness, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for mercilessness

Historical Examples

  • The girl was appalled by the mercilessness of a destiny that had so outraged right.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The mercilessness and cruelty of the Spartans were proverbial.

  • God will rule the world by justice as long as we rule it by our mercilessness.

    Serbia in Light and Darkness

    Nikolaj Velimirovic

  • Taltavull shrieked for the driver to quicken, and the driver used the butt of his whip-stock with true Southern mercilessness.

    The Recipe for Diamonds

    Charles John Cutcliffe Wright Hyne

  • Djezzar means butcher: he had well earned this title by the mercilessness of his administration.

British Dictionary definitions for mercilessness


  1. without mercy; pitiless, cruel, or heartless
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Derived Formsmercilessly, adverbmercilessness, 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 mercilessness



late 14c., see mercy + -less. Related: Mercilessly.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper