April 15, 2016
- mercy (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 a : kind and gentle treatment of someone (as a wrongdoer or opponent) having no right to it b : a disposition to show mercy2 a : a blessing as an act of divine love b : a fortunate happening3 : kindness shown to victims of misfortune
- How do you use it?
- "But worse was the dreadful feeling--I know we all had it--that we were completely at the mercy of someone we knew not at all, for some purpose we could not guess." (Robert C. O'Brien, _Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH_)
- Are you a word wiz?
"Mercy" traces back to the Latin word "merces." What do you think "merces" means?To the ancient Romans, the Latin word "merces" meant "price paid for something," or it could mean "wages" or "reward." Early Christians writing in Latin, however, used "merces" to mean the spiritual reward one receives for acting kindly to a person who doesn't necessarily deserve such kindness. The word came into early French as "mercit" or "merci" with much the same meaning as was later passed on to the modern English word "mercy." But while "mercy" in English now has the meaning "kindness or pity shown to someone," the word "merci" in French has lost much of that meaning and is chiefly used today to mean "thank you."