Middle English Dictionary Entry

mercī n.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) Pardon for a sin or an injury, forgiveness, mercy; (b) asken (bidden, bisechen, craven, crien, sechen) ~, crien for ~, to beg for pardon, forgiveness, or clemency; with ind. obj.: bidden (bisechen, craven, crien, greden, preien, sechen) ~, preien of ~, beg (sb.) for pardon, etc.; asken (bisechen, craven, crien) ~ of, asken (bidden) ~ for, beg pardon, etc., for (a sin, crime, an offense, injury); asken ~ of, crien ~ to, cry to (sb.) for pardon; bisechen (crien) ~ for, beg mercy for (sb.); (c) don (graunten, haven, sheuen) ~, to grant forgiveness, pardon; with ind. obj.: don (yeven) ~, taken to ~, pardon or forgive (sb.); don ~ with, graunten ~ to, haven ~ of (on, upon), forgive (sb.), pardon; don ~ of (to), haven ~ of (to), pardon (a sin, crime, an offense); (d) finden (geten, haven, ifinden, taken, winnen) ~, to obtain forgiveness, be pardoned; (e) bille of ~, a document granting pardon; -- used fig.; court of ~, the court of forgiveness, the confessional; (f) ~ askere, one who pleads for another, an advocate; ~ welle, repentance, penitential tears.
2.
Theol. Atonement, propitiation; dai of (havinge) ~, time of doinge ~, the Hebrew day of propitiation, the tenth day of the seventh month; fridai of ~, Good Friday; mount of foryevenesse and of ~, Mount of Olives; ?also, Mt. Sinai; oile of ~, oile of the tre of ~, a healing oil promised to Adam; ?restoration to God's favor, ?atonement.
3.
(a) Clemency toward a prisoner, an enemy, etc.; mercy; (b) asken (bisechen, craven, crien, sechen) ~, to plead for mercy, beg to be spared; with ind. obj.: asken (bisechen, crien) ~, beg (sb.) for mercy; bisechen of ~, crien ~ on, beg (sb.) for mercy; finden ~, gon to ~, receive clemency, be spared; haven ~, be merciful; haven ~ of (on), yeven ~ (unto, have mercy on (sb.), spare (sb.); wernen ~, refuse (sb.) mercy.
4.
(a) Pity, compassion; thurgh (for, of) his ~, through or by means of his compassion; withouten ~, without pity, mercilessly; cristes ~, godes ~; (b) asken (bisechen, crien) ~, to ask for help or pity, cry out for pity or help; bidden (bisechen, bisechen of, crien, crien of, preien) ~, crien ~ up, beg (sb.) for pity or help; (c) haven ~, to be compassionate; haven ~ of (on), have compassion on (sb., oneself, sth., someone's troubles); haven ~ o (upon), don (sheuen, yeven) ~ to, have compassion on (sb.), take pity on; (d) don ~, haven ~ on (of), taken ~ of, to have mercy on (someone's soul); (e) welle of ~, spring of compassion, the Virgin Mary; also, Christ; fader of ~, God the Father; moder of ~, the Virgin Mary; loken with eien of ~ to, turnen the eie of ~ to, to look with compassion on (sb.), take pity on; (f) a compassionate action, acts of pity; don ~ (to, to relieve the suffering of (sb.).
5.
(a) Favor, kindness; charity; friendship; the favor of a woman to a lover [quot.: c1385]; (b) asken ~, to ask for favor; crien ~, demand a favor of (sb.); also, plead for a woman's love; bisechen of ~, preien ~, plead with (a woman, a bird) for her love; (c) don ~, to be charitable; don ~ to, haven ~ of (on, to), yeven ~ to (on), show favor to (sb.), be kind to; sheuen (yeven) ~ to, grant (sb.) a privilege [quots.: a1400; c1400]; haven ~, of a woman: be kind to a lover; haven ~ of (on), taken to ~, give (a lover) what he wants [quots.: c1325; a1500 Comp.A.]; (d) finden ~ of, to get kind treatment from (sb.) [quot.: a1450]; haven ~, receive kindness or charity [quot.: c1390]; finden (geten) ~, get a woman's love or a mistress' favors; haven ~, obtain (a woman's) love or favors; (e) ~ doere, one who is kind or charitable, benefactor; ~ doinge, a kindly act, a favor, benefaction; (f) a kindly act, favor, kindness, benefaction; charitable deed or deeds; don ~ with (to), to do a favor for (sb.), show kindness to (sb.); mercies of povre men, charity to the poor; bodili (gostli) ~, one of the seven deeds of bodily (spiritual) mercy [cp. (g)]; (g) dede (werk) of ~, werk of ~ doinge, any one of fourteen acts of kindness or charity, physical or spiritual, but usually physical, when unspecified [not always the same but varying somewhat from writer to writer]; seven dedes (werkes) of ~, seven bodili dedes (werkes) of ~, seven werkes of bodili ~, seven gostli dedes of ~, seven dedes (werkes) of gostli ~, etc.
6.
Mercy personified and other fig. uses.
7.
(a) Theol. The grace of God; vessel of ~, one who is saved by God's grace, one of the elect; (b) a place or condition of grace, heaven; passen to ~, senden soule to godes ~, to die in a state of grace.
8.
As an exclamation: (a) Have mercy! Pity me or us! Help me! Save me! Spare me! Be kind to your lover!; (b) expressing surprise or wonder; (c) expressing gratitude: thanks!
9.
10.
The power to show or withhold mercy, authority to pardon or punish; in thi ~, in your power, at your mercy; in his ~, under whos ~, etc.; bouen to ~, to submit (oneself) to (someone's) will, throw (oneself) on (someone's) mercy; comen to ~, come under (someone's) power; don (putten) in ~, put (oneself) at (someone's) mercy; stonden in the ~ of, be at the mercy of (God).
11.
?As adj.: kind, gracious.