amercement

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To amercement
Collins
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

amercement

in English law, an arbitrary financial penalty, formerly imposed on an offender by his peers or at the discretion of the court or the lord. Although the word has become practically synonymous with "fine," there is a distinction in that fines are fixed by statute, whereas amercements are decided by the court. Originally, an amercement represented a commutation of a sentence that required the forfeiture of goods, while a fine was an arrangement agreed upon between the judge and the prisoner to avoid imprisonment. Magna Carta (1215) attempted to regulate the assessment of amercements.

Learn more about amercement with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Related Searches
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;