[lee-nee-uhnt, leen-yuhnt]
agreeably tolerant; permissive; indulgent: He tended to be lenient toward the children. More lenient laws encouraged greater freedom of expression.
Archaic. softening, soothing, or alleviative.

1645–55; < Latin lēnient- (stem of lēniēns), present participle of lēnīre to soften, alleviate, soothe. See lenis, -ent

leniently, adverb
superlenient, adjective
superleniently, adverb
unlenient, adjective
unleniently, adverb
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lenient (ˈliːnɪənt)
1.  showing or characterized by mercy or tolerance
2.  archaic caressing or soothing
[C17: from Latin lēnīre to soothe, from lēnis soft]

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

1650s, "relaxing, soothing," from M.Fr. lenient, from L. lenientem (nom. leniens), prp. of lenire "to soften, alleviate, mitigate, allay, calm," from lenis "mild, gentle, calm," probably from PIE base *le(i)- "to leave, yield" (cf. Lith. lenas "quiet, tranquil, tame, slow," O.C.S. lena "lazy," L. lassus
"faint, weary," O.E. læt "sluggish, slow," lætan "to leave behind"). Sense of "mild, merciful" (of persons) first recorded 1787. In earlier use was lenitive, attested from 1540s of medicines, 1610s of persons.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Bosses are going to be much more likely to be lenient to workers they already
  value than ones that annoy them.
Some are strict, some are lenient, and some are anywhere in between.
State policies vary greatly, with some much more lenient than others.
Even more important, prosecutors have the right to ask for lenient sentences
  when the accused has been especially co-operative.
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