at mercy of

mercy

[mur-see]
noun, plural mercies 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
6.
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:
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


1. forgiveness, indulgence, clemency, leniency, lenity, tenderness, mildness.


1. cruelty.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
mercy (ˈmɜːsɪ)
 
n , pl -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 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
 
[C12: from Old French, from Latin mercēs wages, recompense, price, from merx goods]

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

mercy
late 12c., "God's forgiveness of his creatures' offenses," from O.Fr. mercit, merci "reward, gift, kindness," from L. mercedem (nom. merces) "reward, wages, hire" (in V.L. "favor, pity"), from merx (gen. mercis) "wares, merchandise." In Church L. (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 In French largely superseded by miséricorde except as a word of thanks.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 Heb. kapporeth, lit. "propitiatory."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Mercy definition


compassion for the miserable. Its object is misery. By the atoning sacrifice of Christ a way is open for the exercise of mercy towards the sons of men, in harmony with the demands of truth and righteousness (Gen. 19:19; Ex. 20:6; 34:6, 7; Ps. 85:10; 86:15, 16). In Christ mercy and truth meet together. Mercy is also a Christian grace (Matt. 5:7; 18:33-35).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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