1) ADJ-GRADED If you describe God or a person in a position of authority as merciful, you mean that they show kindness and forgiveness to people.

...a merciful God...

We can only hope the court is merciful.

2) ADJ-GRADED If you describe an event or situation as merciful, you mean that it is a good thing, especially because it stops someone's suffering or discomfort.

We were told when he was taken to hospital that his injuries were so severe death would be merciful...

Eventually the session came to a merciful end.

English dictionary. 2008.

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  • 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}. [1913 Webster] The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious. Ex. xxxiv. 6. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • merciful — index benevolent, charitable (lenient), humane, lenient, placable, propitious, sensitive (easily …   Law dictionary

  • merciful — mid 14c.; see MERCY (Cf. mercy) + FUL (Cf. ful). Related: Mercifully …   Etymology dictionary

  • merciful — clement, *forbearing, tolerant, lenient, indulgent Analogous words: compassionate, *tender: benignant, benign, *kind, kindly: forgiving, pardoning, condoning (see EXCUSE vb) Antonyms: merciless Contrasted words: *grim, implacable, relentless,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • merciful — [adj] kind, sparing all heart*, beneficent, benign, benignant, bleeding heart*, charitable, clement, compassionate, condoning, easygoing, feeling, forbearing, forgiving, generous, gentle, gracious, heart in right place*, humane, humanitarian,… …   New thesaurus

  • merciful — ► ADJECTIVE 1) showing mercy. 2) giving relief from suffering …   English terms dictionary

  • merciful — [mʉr′si fəl] adj. full of mercy; having, feeling, or showing mercy; compassionate; lenient; clement mercifully adv. mercifulness n …   English World dictionary

  • merciful — adj. 1) merciful to 2) merciful to + inf. (it was merciful of her to offer help) * * * [ mɜːsɪf(ə)l] merciful to merciful to + inf. (it was merciful of her to offer help) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • merciful — mer|ci|ful [ˈmə:sıfəl US ˈmə:r ] adj 1.) merciful death/end/release a death or end to something that seems fortunate because it ends someone s suffering ▪ I think my uncle s death was a merciful release for my poor aunt. 2.) being kind to people… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • merciful — mer|ci|ful [ mɜrsıfl ] adjective MAINLY LITERARY 1. ) showing kindness toward someone, even when other people might punish or be cruel to them: our merciful Lord 2. ) something that is merciful makes you feel grateful and lucky because it… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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