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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Those animals put down had a merciful release.
▪ Death had been a merciful release for him.
▪ And Elinor was just going to have to wait for her merciful release.
Merciful God
▪ A merciful amnesia usually came with these comas and who could deny it was a blessing?
▪ But the reality is, ladies and gentlemen, I am being merciful.
▪ Le Bon Seigneur had been merciful to the Grand Duke and accorded him a fine day.
▪ While he was still fumbling four more of the shrieks blasted out of the ether; then there was a merciful silence.
▪ Who am I to be merciful?
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Merciful \Mer"ci*ful\, a. [Mercy + -ful.]

  1. Full of mercy; having or exercising mercy; disposed to pity and spare offenders; unwilling to punish. Opposite of merciless.

    The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious.
    --Ex. xxxiv. 6.

    Be merciful, great duke, to men of mold.

  2. Unwilling to give pain; compassionate.

    A merciful man will be merciful to his beast.
    --Old Proverb.

    Syn: Compassionate; tender; humane; gracious; kind; mild; clement; benignant. [1913 Webster] -- Mer"ci*ful*ly, adv. -- Mer"ci*ful*ness, n.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-14c.; see mercy + -ful. Related: Mercifully.


a. showing mercy

  1. adj. showing or giving mercy; "sought merciful treatment for the captives"; "a merciful god" [ant: merciless]

  2. characterized by mercy, and compassion; "compassionate toward disadvantaged people"; "kind to animals"; "a humane judge" [syn: kind]

  3. used conventionally of royalty and high nobility; "our merciful king"

Usage examples of "merciful".

Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful, the accredited delegates to the Annual Convention of America, Chicago, Illinois.

Thou art the Gracious, the Bountiful, the Bestower, the Almighty, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

The one confirmed the other: the fact that the merciful will go to Heaven, and the unmerciful to hell, meant that everybody ought to be merciful, and the malefactor having been forgiven by Christ meant that Christ was merciful.

By the righteousness of God, the True One, the testimony shown forth by His Remembrance is like unto a sun which the hand of the merciful Lord hath raised high in the midmost heart of the heaven, wherefrom it shineth in the plenitude of its meridian splendour.

And then she thought of Minnum and was grateful that the Great Goddess had been merciful.

He had sometimes thought of buying a small plot of land and leaving it as an inheritance to one of his parishioners on condition that a sheltered corner be reserved for his car to rest in, but there was not one parishioner whom he could trust to carry out his wish, and in any case a slow death by rust could not be avoided and perhaps a crusher at a scrapyard would be a more merciful end.

Dakar suggested, reamed already by cramps that made beheading seem merciful by comparison.

Even so, he is always instantly recognizable as the same patriarchal character, forewarned by the same merciful god, who rides out the same universal flood in the same storm-tossed ark and whose descendants repopulate the world.

Above all, the ancient Elbonaians had been gentle and merciful, and a Young Scouter tried to be like them.

For yet again it is told that, when the Merciful One made the worlds, first of all He created that Stone and gave it to the Divine One whom the Jews call Shekinah, and as she gazed upon it the universes arose and had being.

Even so it was with Theos Alwyn,--drowned in the deep stillness of a merciful swoon, he had sunk, as it were, out of life,--far out of the furthest reach or sense of time, in some vast unsounded gulf of shadows where earth and heaven were alike forgotten!

The evil Queen Beata has us, and even the Lady Alwyth is merciful by comparison.

And, since my body was no longer in their clutches, they none the less sentenced me to death as contumaciously absent, and my effigy was burnt in the holy fires they lighted, amongst the human candles which they offered up for the greater honour and glory of a merciful God.

I have seen cows chewing their cud while I sawed away, and this merciful improvement in our method signalled the end of all the old things.

Bring those evildoers here that they may thank and praise me, who give them so merciful an end.