MER'CY, n. [L. misericordia.]1. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being. The Lord is long-suffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty. Num.14.2. An act or exercise of mercy or favor. It is a mercy that they escaped. I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies. Gen.32.3. Pity; compassion manifested towards a person in distress. And he said, he that showed mercy on him. Luke.10.4. Clemency and bounty. Mercy and truth preserve the king; and his throne is upheld by mercy. Prov.28.5. Charity, or the duties of charity and benevolence. I will have mercy and not sacrifice. Matt.9.6. Grace; favor. 1 Cor.7. Jude 2.7. Eternal life, the fruit of mercy. 2 Tim.1.8. Pardon. I cry thee mercy with all my heart.9. The act of sparing, or the forbearance of a violent act expected. The prisoner cried for mercy.
To be or to lie at the mercy of, to have no means of self-defense, but to be dependent for safety on the mercy or compassion of another, or in the power of that which is irresistible; as, to be at the mercy of a foe, or of the waves.
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