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[mur-see] /ˈmɜr si/
noun, plural mercies for 4, 5.
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.
the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing:
an adversary wholly without mercy.
the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
an act of kindness, compassion, or favor:
She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing:
It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.
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 of mercy
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.


[mur-see] /ˈmɜr si/
a female given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mercy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "He has me at his mercy now," thought Heyst, without particular excitement.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • It was awful to Harriett that her father should be ill, lying there at their mercy.

  • But out of the sky came a voice and it cried 'mercymercy to him!'

    Operas Every Child Should Know Mary Schell Hoke Bacon
  • Oh, miss, ain't it a mercy everybody ain't so like your own!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • You say you have come as messengers of mercy to us, and as the messengers of the nations.

    The Government of God John Taylor
British Dictionary definitions for mercy


noun (pl) -cies
compassionate treatment of or attitude towards an offender, adversary, etc, who is in one's power or care; clemency; pity
the power to show mercy: to throw oneself on someone's mercy
a relieving or welcome occurrence or state of affairs: his death was a mercy after weeks of pain
at the mercy of, in the power of
Word Origin
C12: from Old French, from Latin mercēs wages, recompense, price, from merx goods
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 mercy

late 12c., "God's forgiveness of his creatures' offenses," from Old French mercit, merci (9c.) "reward, gift; kindness, grace, pity," from Latin mercedem (nominative merces) "reward, wages, pay hire" (in Vulgar Latin "favor, pity"), from merx (genitive mercis) "wares, merchandise" (see market (n.)). In Church Latin (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 Hebrew kapporeth, literally "propitiatory."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mercy in the Bible

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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Idioms and Phrases with mercy


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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