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amerce

[uh-murs] /əˈmɜrs/
verb (used with object), amerced, amercing.
1.
to punish by imposing a fine not fixed by statute.
2.
to punish by inflicting any discretionary or arbitrary penalty.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English amercy < Anglo-French amerci(er) to fine, representing (estre) a merci (to be) at (someone's) mercy. See a-5, mercy
Related forms
amerceable, adjective
amercement, noun
amercer, noun
unamerceable, adjective
unamerced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for un amerced

amerce

/əˈmɜːs/
verb (transitive) (obsolete)
1.
(law) to punish by a fine
2.
to punish with any arbitrary penalty
Derived Forms
amerceable, adjective
amercement, noun
amercer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-French amercier, from Old French à merci at the mercy (because the fine was arbitrarily fixed); see mercy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for un amerced

amerce

v.

1215, earlier amercy, Anglo-French amercier "to fine," from merci "mercy, grace" (see mercy). The legal phrase estre a merci "to be at the mercy of" (a tribunal, etc.) was corrupted to estre amercié in an example of how a legalese adverbial phrase can become a verb (cf. abandon). The sense often was "to fine arbitrarily."

Frans hom ne seit amerciez pour petit forfet. [Magna Charta]
Related: Amercement; amerciable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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