mercy

[mur-see]
See more synonyms for mercy on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural mer·cies for 4, 5.
  1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.
  2. the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
  3. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
  4. an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
  5. something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.
Idioms
  1. at the mercy of, entirely in the power of; subject to: They were at the mercy of their captors.Also at one's mercy.

Origin of mercy

1125–75; Middle English merci < Old French, earlier mercit < Latin mercēd- (stem of mercēs) wages (Late Latin, Medieval Latin: heavenly reward), derivative of merx goods

Synonyms for mercy

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Antonyms for mercy

Mercy

[mur-see]
noun
  1. a female given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for mercy

Contemporary Examples of mercy

  • But give the Kingdom credit for its sense of mercy: The lashes will be administered only 50 at a time.

    The Daily Beast logo
    In Defense of Blasphemy

    Michael Tomasky

    January 9, 2015

  • If mercy is not preached by a national figure we take seriously, our battles over policy power will grow ever more merciless.

    The Daily Beast logo
    No Gods, No Cops, No Masters

    James Poulos

    January 1, 2015

  • Policy is about wielding power, while mercy is about transcending power by renouncing it.

    The Daily Beast logo
    No Gods, No Cops, No Masters

    James Poulos

    January 1, 2015

  • Canned drinks like Mercy contain up 5,000 percent of the daily value of certain vitamins.

    The Daily Beast logo
    History's Craziest Hangover Cures

    Justin Jones

    December 30, 2014

  • Patterson decided that meant they just left the eaglets at the mercy of whatever danger arose.

    The Daily Beast logo
    He Faces Jail for Rescuing Baby Eagles

    Michael Daly

    November 2, 2014

Historical Examples of mercy

  • There, I thought I'd reveal the distressing truth about myself while I had you at my mercy.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But the Marquis has no mercy on the performances of poor Miss Pardoe.

  • It was awful to Harriett that her father should be ill, lying there at their mercy.

  • Oh, miss, ain't it a mercy everybody ain't so like your own!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • If you have forfeited man's respect and esteem, there is a God with whom there is mercy and forgiveness.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder


British Dictionary definitions for mercy

mercy

noun plural -cies
  1. compassionate treatment of or attitude towards an offender, adversary, etc, who is in one's power or care; clemency; pity
  2. the power to show mercyto throw oneself on someone's mercy
  3. a relieving or welcome occurrence or state of affairshis death was a mercy after weeks of pain
  4. at the mercy of in the power of

Word Origin for mercy

C12: from Old French, from Latin mercēs wages, recompense, price, from merx goods
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 mercy
n.

late 12c., "God's forgiveness of his creatures' offenses," from Old French mercit, merci (9c.) "reward, gift; kindness, grace, pity," from Latin mercedem (nominative merces) "reward, wages, pay hire" (in Vulgar Latin "favor, pity"), from merx (genitive mercis) "wares, merchandise" (see market (n.)). In Church Latin (6c.) applied to the heavenly reward of those who show kindness to the helpless.

Meaning "disposition to forgive or show compassion" is attested from early 13c. As an interjection, attested from mid-13c. In French largely superseded by miséricorde except as a word of thanks. Seat of mercy "golden covering of the Ark of the Covenant" (1530) is Tyndale's loan-translation of Luther's gnadenstuhl, an inexact rendering of Hebrew kapporeth, literally "propitiatory."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mercy

mercy

see at the mercy of.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.