Mercy (Middle English, from Anglo-French merci, from Medieval Latin merced-, merces, from Latin, "price paid, wages", from merc-, merxi "merchandise") is a broad term that refers to benevolence, forgiveness and kindness in a variety of ethical, religious, social and legal contexts.
The concept of a "Merciful God" appears in various religions, including Christianity and Islam. Performing acts of mercy as a component of religious beliefs is also emphasized through actions such as the giving of alms, and care for the sick and Works of Mercy.
In the social and legal context, mercy may refer both to compassionate behavior on the part of those in power (e.g. mercy shown by a judge toward a convict), or on the part of a humanitarian third party, e.g., a mission of mercy aiming to treat war victims.
Famous quotes containing the word mercy:
“Oh that my Powr to Saving were confind:
Why am I forcd, like Heavn, against my mind,
To make Examples of another Kind?
Must I at length the Sword of Justice draw?
Oh curst Effects of necessary Law!
How ill my Fear they by my Mercy scan,
Beware the Fury of a Patient Man.”
—John Dryden (16311700)
“Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful.
Sweet mercy is nobilitys true badge.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“A man gazing on the stars is proverbially at the mercy of the puddles in the road.”
—Alexander Smith (18301867)