Etymology
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merciful (adj.)

"exercising forbearance or pity; characterized by mercy, giving relief from danger, need, or suffering," mid-14c., from mercy + -ful. The earlier word was merciable (c. 1200). Related: Mercifully; mercifulness.

updated on December 27, 2018

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Definitions of merciful from WordNet

merciful (adj.)
(used conventionally of royalty and high nobility) gracious;
our merciful king
merciful (adj.)
showing or giving mercy;
sought merciful treatment for the captives
a merciful god
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.