Origin: OE. Merci, F. Merci, L. Merces, mercedis, hire, pay, reward, LL, equiv. To misericordia pity, mercy. L. Merces is prob akin to merere to deserve, acquire. See Merit, and cf. Amerce.

1. Forbearance to inflict harm under circumstances of provocation, when one has the power to inflict it; compassionate treatment of an offender or adversary; clemency. Examples of justice must be made for terror to some; examples of mercy for comfort to others. (bacon)

2. Compassionate treatment of the unfortunate and helpless; sometimes, favor, beneficence.

3. Disposition to exercise compassion or favor; pity; compassion; willingness to spare or to help. In whom mercy lacketh and is not founden. (Sir T. Elyot)

4. A blessing regarded as a manifestation of compassion or favor. The father of mercies and the god of all comfort. (2 cor. I. 3) Mercy seat,a religious order founded in Dublin in the year 1827. Communities of the same name have since been established in various American cities. The duties of those belonging to the order are, to attend lying-in hospitals, to superintend the education of girls, and protect decent women out of employment, to visit prisoners and the sick, and to attend persons condemned to death. To be at the mercy of, to be wholly in the power of.

Synonym: See grace.

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