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[mur-si-fuh l] /ˈmɜr sɪ fəl/
full of mercy; characterized by, expressing, or showing mercy; compassionate:
a merciful God.
Origin of merciful
1250-1300; Middle English; see mercy, -ful
Related forms
mercifully, adverb
mercifulness, noun
overmerciful, adjective
overmercifully, adverb
overmercifulness, noun
kind, clement, lenient, forgiving, benignant, tender, sympathetic.
cruel, relentless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for merciful
  • Each state's closure had its own financial logic, but collectively they proved merciful.
  • We must prayerfully and reverentially practice a merciful severity.
  • Student, students are merciful and recognised they chew something.
  • Usually tried to tackle them head on, often stopped cars with merciful drivers.
  • Indeed, there is an ancient saying that he who is merciful to the cruel will end by being cruel to the merciful.
  • It's probably a merciful thing that pain is impossible to describe from memory.
  • Her exhaustion as they set out the next day was merciful.
  • Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.
  • Freed from its merciful, muffling confines, it got louder.
  • Good piece, but your last sentence is exactly opposite the nature of merciful forgiveness.
British Dictionary definitions for merciful


showing or giving mercy; compassionate
Derived Forms
mercifulness, noun
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 merciful

mid-14c.; see mercy + -ful. Related: Mercifully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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