mercy ( mercies plural )
1 n-uncount If someone in authority shows mercy, they choose not to harm someone they have power over, or they forgive someone they have the right to punish.
Neither side took prisoners or showed any mercy..., They cried for mercy but their pleas were met with abuse and laughter...
2 adj Mercy is used to describe a special journey to help someone in great need, such as people who are sick or made homeless by war. (JOURNALISM) ADJ n
She vanished nine months ago while on a mercy mission to West Africa...
3 n-count If you refer to an event or situation as amercy, you mean that it makes you feel happy or relieved, usually because it stops something unpleasant happening.
usu a N
It really was a mercy that he'd died so rapidly at the end...
4 If one person or thing is at the mercyof another, the first person or thing is in a situation where they cannot prevent themselves being harmed or affected by the second.
at the mercy of someone phrase with poss, usu PHR after v, v-link PHR
Buildings are left to decay at the mercy of vandals and the weather...
5 If you tell someone who is in an unpleasant situation that they should be grateful or thankful for small mercies, you mean that although their situation is bad, it could be even worse, and so they should be happy.
grateful/thankful for small mercies phrase usu v-link PHR But so low has morale sunk that the team and the fans would have been grateful for small mercies.
mercy killing ( mercy killings plural ) A mercy killing is an act of killing someone who is very ill, in order to stop them suffering any more pain. n-var
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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"