Word of the Day Archive
Friday March 8, 2002
lenity \LEN-uh-tee\ , noun:
The state or quality of being lenient; mildness; gentleness of treatment; leniency.
The criminal suspect is pressured by remorse or hope of lenity or sheer despair to fess up.
-- Richard A. Posner, "Let Them Talk", The New Republic, August 21, 2000
In this context, severity is justice, lenity injustice.
-- Dr Anthony Daniels, "It's no way to treat a lunatic", Sunday Telegraph, December 13, 1998
. . .an excessive lenity toward criminals, which encourages crime.
-- Richard A. Posner, "The Moral Minority", New York Times, December 19, 1999
And what makes robbers bold but too much lenity?
-- William Shakespeare, Henry VI, part III
Lenity comes from Latin lenitas, from lenis, "soft, mild."