Skip to main content
Select Source:

mercy

mer·cy / ˈmərsē/ • n. (pl. -cies) compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm: the boy was screaming and begging for mercy | the mercies of God. ∎  an event to be grateful for, esp. because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering: his death was in a way a mercy. ∎  [as adj.] (esp. of a journey or mission) performed out of a desire to relieve suffering; motivated by compassion: mercy missions to refugees caught up in the fighting. • interj. archaic used in expressions of surprise or fear: “Mercy me!” uttered Mrs. Garfield. PHRASES: at the mercy of completely in the power or under the control of: consumers were at the mercy of every rogue in the marketplace. be thankful (or grateful) for small mercies be relieved that an unpleasant situation is alleviated by minor advantages. have mercy on (or upon) show compassion or forgiveness to: may the Lord have mercy on her soul. leave someone/something to the mercy of expose someone or something to a situation of probable danger or harm: the forest is left to the mercy of the loggers. throw oneself on someone's mercy intentionally place oneself in someone's hands in the expectation that they will behave mercifully toward one. ORIGIN: Middle English: from Old French merci ‘pity’ or ‘thanks,’ from Latin merces, merced- ‘reward,’ in Christian Latin ‘pity, favor, heavenly reward.’

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"mercy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"mercy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 25, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mercy-1

"mercy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved April 25, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mercy-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

mercy

mercy be thankful for small mercies be relieved that an unpleasant situation is alleviated by minor advantages.
mercy seat the golden covering placed upon the Ark of the Covenant, regarded as the resting-place of God; the throne of God in Heaven. The term is found in Exodus 25:17.
throw oneself on someone's mercy intentionally place oneself in someone's power in the expectation that they will behave mercifully towards one.

See also seven corporal works of mercy, seven spiritual works of mercy.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"mercy." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"mercy." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 25, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mercy

"mercy." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved April 25, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mercy

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

mercy

mercy XII. — (O)F. merci, now chiefly in sense ‘thanks’ and in phr. á la merci de in the absolute power of:- L. mercēs, mercēd- pay, reward, wages, revenue, in ChrL. used for misericordia pity and gratiæ thanks.
Hence merciful XIII, merciless XIV.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"mercy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"mercy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 25, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mercy-2

"mercy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved April 25, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mercy-2

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

mercy

mercyarsy-versy, Circe, mercy, Percy, pursy •colonelcy • verdancy • conversancy •conservancy, fervency •curtsy • controversy

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"mercy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"mercy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 25, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mercy-0

"mercy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved April 25, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mercy-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.