"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[klem-uh n-see] /ˈklɛm ən si/
noun, plural clemencies.
the quality of being clement; disposition to show forbearance, compassion, or forgiveness in judging or punishing; leniency; mercy.
an act or deed showing mercy or leniency.
(of the weather) mildness or temperateness.
Origin of clemency
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin clēmentia. See clement, -cy
Related forms
overclemency, noun
1. forgivingness, gentleness, mercifulness.
1. harshness. 3. severity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for clemency
  • He had asked the governor not to grant him clemency.
  • The parole board, however, later recommended against clemency.
  • There were no arguments in support of clemency made at this hearing.
British Dictionary definitions for clemency


noun (pl) -cies
mercy or leniency
mildness, esp of the weather
Word Origin
C15: from Latin clēmentia, from clēmēns gentle
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
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Word Origin and History for clemency

1550s, "mildness or gentleness shown in exercise of authority," from Latin clementia "calmness, gentleness," from clemens "calm, mild," related to clinare "to lean" (see lean (v.)) + participial suffix -menos (also in alumnus). For sense evolution, cf. inclined in secondary meaning "disposed favorably." Earlier in same sense was clemence (late 15c.).

Meaning "mildness of weather or climate" is 1660s (a sense also in Latin); clement (adj.) is older in both senses, late 15c. and 1620s respectively, but now is used only in negation and only of the weather.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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