Definition of mercy noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    mercy

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈmɜːsi//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmɜːrsi//
     
    (pl. mercies) Kind
     
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  1. 1[uncountable] a kind or forgiving attitude towards somebody that you have the power to harm or right to punish synonym humanity to ask/beg/plead for mercy They showed no mercy to their hostages. God have mercy on us. The troops are on a mercy mission (= a journey to help people) in the war zone. See related entries: Kind
  2. 2[countable, usually singular] (informal) an event or a situation to be grateful for, usually because it stops something unpleasant It's a mercy she wasn't seriously hurt. His death was a mercy (= because he was in great pain).
  3. see also merciful, merciless
    Word Origin Middle English: from Old French merci ‘pity’ or ‘thanks’, from Latin merces, merced- ‘reward’, in Christian Latin ‘pity, favour, heavenly reward’.Extra examples God have mercy on us! God’s infinite mercy He asked for mercy for the crimes he had committed. I left him to the tender mercies of his mother. I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies. The mission of the church is to extend mercy to the needy. The terrorists are completely without mercy. There shall be no mercy for my enemies. They showed no mercy to their captives. We’re at the mercy of the weather. a mercy mission to deliver medical supplies and equipment I’m not going to put myself at the mercy of the bank. The prisoners begged for mercy. The troops are on a mercy mission in the war zone.Idioms
    at the mercy of somebody/something
     
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    not able to stop somebody/something harming you because they have power or control over you I'm not going to put myself at the mercy of the bank. We were at the mercy of the weather.
    be grateful/thankful for small mercies
     
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    to be happy that a situation that is bad is not as bad as it could have been Well, at least you weren't hurt. I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies.
    leave somebody/something to the mercy/mercies of somebody/something
     
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    to leave somebody/something in a situation that may cause them to suffer or to be treated badly privatized companies left to the mercy of market forces (humorous) I’ll leave you to the tender mercies of these ladies!
    throw yourself on somebody’s mercy
     
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    (formal) to put yourself in a situation where you must rely on somebody to be kind to you and not harm or punish you
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: mercy

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