amerce

amerce

[uh-murs]
verb (used with object), amerced, amercing.
1.
to punish by imposing a fine not fixed by statute.
2.
to punish by inflicting any discretionary or arbitrary penalty.

Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English amercy < Anglo-French amerci(er) to fine, representing (estre) a merci (to be) at (someone's) mercy. See a-5, mercy

amerceable, adjective
amercement, noun
amercer, noun
unamerceable, adjective
unamerced, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
amerce (əˈmɜːs)
 
vb
1.  law to punish by a fine
2.  to punish with any arbitrary penalty
 
[C14: from Anglo-French amercier, from Old French à merci at the mercy (because the fine was arbitrarily fixed); see mercy]
 
a'merceable
 
adj
 
a'mercement
 
n
 
a'mercer
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

amerce
1215, earlier amercy, Anglo-Fr. amercier "to fine," from merci "mercy, grace" (see mercy). The legal phrase estre a merci "to be at the mercy of" (a tribunal, etc.) was corrupted to estre amercié in an example of how a legalese adv. phrase can become a verb (cf.
abandon). The sense often was "to fine arbitrarily."
"Frans hom ne seit amerciez pour petit forfet." [Magna Charta]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Synonyms
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