View synonyms for mercy



[ mur-see ]


, plural mer·cies
  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.

    Synonyms: tenderness, mildness, lenity, leniency, clemency, indulgence, forgiveness

    Antonyms: cruelty

  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.



[ mur-see ]


  1. a female given name.


/ ˈmɜːsɪ /


  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 mercy

    to throw oneself on someone's mercy

  3. a relieving or welcome occurrence or state of affairs

    his death was a mercy after weeks of pain

  4. at the mercy of
    in the power of

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Word History and Origins

Origin of mercy1

First recorded in 1125–75; Middle English merci, from Old French, earlier mercit, from Latin mercēd-, stem of mercēs “wages” ( Late Latin, Medieval Latin: “heavenly reward”), derivative of merc-, stem of merx “commodity, goods, merchandise”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of mercy1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. at the mercy of, entirely in the power of; subject to: Also at one's mercy.

    They were at the mercy of their captors.

More idioms and phrases containing mercy

see at the mercy of .

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Example Sentences

Without a direct avenue to customers, Apple has been at the mercy of third-party sellers.

From Fortune

When Mulan finally meets her, the witch says, “When they find out who you are, they will show you no mercy.”

However, since their existing upfront deals did not provide pandemic-related escape clauses and the advertisers were at the mercy of the networks to excuse them.

From Digiday

The city was at the mercy of its own bureaucracy and individual family members who made up the trust had different views of what they should do with the property.

So we will never again be at the mercy of China and other foreign countries in order to protect our own people.

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

But it never has been the site of equal mercy, and it never will be.

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

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

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

Brethren are a help in the time of trouble, but mercy shall deliver more than they.

Have mercy on thy people, upon whom thy name is invoked: and upon Israel, whom thou hast raised up to be thy firstborn.

If she have a tongue that can cure, and likewise mitigate and shew mercy: her husband is not like other men.

Henceforth he must remember Winifred only when his sword was at the throat of some wretched mutineer appealing for mercy.

And thou hast delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of thy name, from them that did roar, prepared to devour.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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