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. --Shak.
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.
-- Mer*ci*ful*ly, adv. -- Mer*ci*ful*ness, n.
n 1: the feeling that motivates compassion [syn: mercy]
2: a disposition to be kind and forgiving; "in those days a
wife had to depend on the mercifulness of her husband"
[syn: mercy] [ant: mercilessness]
3: leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person
or agency charged with administering justice; "he threw
himself on the mercy of the court" [syn: clemency, mercy]