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:
“Laws ... proportionate and mild should never be dispensed with. Let mercy be the character of the law-giver, but let the judge be a mere machine.”
—Thomas Jefferson (17431826)
“Let us eat and drink neither forgetting death unduly nor remembering it. The Lord hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, etc., and the less we think about it the better.”
—Samuel Butler (18351902)
“And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And I pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain”
—T.S. (Thomas Stearns)