mercy Definition

  • 1compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm
  • 2an event to be grateful for, especially because it prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering

Using mercy: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "mercy" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The judge showed mercy and gave him a lighter sentence.

  • Example

    I beg you for mercy, please don't hurt me!

  • Example

    The rain came as a mercy to the drought-stricken region.

  • Example

    He was at the mercy of his captors.

mercy Synonyms and Antonyms

Idioms Using mercy

  • take no prisoners (and show no mercy)

    to be ruthless and show no compassion or mercy


    The company took no prisoners when it came to firing employees during the pandemic.

  • with (the) greatest of ease (and mercy)

    with extreme ease and without causing harm or difficulty


    The gymnast performed the routine with the greatest of ease and mercy, impressing the judges.

  • to treat someone with fairness and compassion according to the law


    The judge showed the defendant the mercy of the law by giving him a reduced sentence.

Phrases with mercy

  • show compassion or forgiveness towards someone


    Please have mercy on me and forgive my mistake.

  • at the mercy of someone/something

    in a situation where one is helpless and completely under the control of someone or something else


    The hostages were at the mercy of their captors.

  • plead for compassion or forgiveness


    The prisoner begged for mercy but was still sentenced to life in prison.

Origins of mercy

from Old French 'merci', from Latin 'merces', meaning 'reward'


Summary: mercy in Brief

'Mercy' [ˈmɜːsi] refers to compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone who could be punished or harmed. It can also refer to an event that provides relief from suffering. Examples include 'The judge showed mercy and gave him a lighter sentence.' and 'He was at the mercy of his captors.' Idioms like 'take no prisoners' and 'with the greatest of ease' extend the concept of mercy to ruthless behavior and ease of accomplishment.

How do native speakers use this expression?