Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old French
Origin: merci, from Latin merces 'price paid, payment for work', from merx 'things for sale'


1 [uncountable] if someone shows mercy, they choose to forgive or to be kind to someone who they have the power to hurt or punish:
He showed no mercy to his enemies.
God have mercy on his soul.
beg/cry/plead for mercy
The boy was screaming and begging for mercy.

at the mercy of somebody/something

unable to do anything to protect yourself from someone or something:
After the boat's motor failed, they were at the mercy of the weather.
She was completely at his mercy.

mercy flight/mission etc

a journey taken to bring help to people:
a mercy mission to help homeless refugees

leave somebody to somebody's (tender) mercies

to let someone be dealt with by another person, who may treat them very badly or strictly - used humorously

throw yourself on somebody's mercy

to ask someone to help you or forgive you when you are in a very bad situation

it's a mercy (that)

spoken used to say that it is lucky that a worse situation was avoided:
It's a mercy the accident happened so near the hospital.

➔ be thankful/grateful for small mercies

at small1 (13)

Dictionary results for "mercy"
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