mercy

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Related to mercies: Tender Mercies

at (someone's) mercy

Under the control of or dictated by the actions of someone else, without the ability to defend or liberate oneself. Please don't report me to the head master. I'm at your mercy! Once the gangsters were able to blackmail Susan, she was at their mercy.
See also: mercy

for mercy's sake

A mild oath of surprise, exasperation, annoyance, frustration, or anger. For mercy's sake! I haven't seen you in years! Would you let me finish my story, for mercy's sake? Oh for mercy's sake, I just had the car fixed and now you've put a dent in it!
See also: sake

give thanks for small mercies

To appreciate small or minor benefits, advantages, or opportunities one is afforded, particularly in the midst of an otherwise difficult, frustrating, or unfortunate situation or circumstance. My car's air conditioning stopped working two hours into my cross-country road trip across America. The radio still works, though, so I suppose I should give thanks for small mercies. Our son's accident left him without the use of his right eye; we're just giving thanks for small mercies that he still has the use of his left one.
See also: give, mercy, small, thanks

be thankful for small mercies

To appreciate small or minor benefits, advantages, or opportunities one is afforded, particularly in the midst of an otherwise difficult, frustrating, or unfortunate situation or circumstance. My car's air conditioning stopped working two hours into my cross-country road trip across America. The radio still works, though, so I guess I should be thankful for small mercies. Our son's accident left him without the use of his right eye; we're just thankful for small mercies that he still has the use of his left one.
See also: mercy, small, thankful

mercy fuck

vulgar slang An act of sexual intercourse between two people, one of whom pities the other.
See also: fuck, mercy

at the mercy of someone

 and at someone's mercy
Fig. under the control of someone; without defense against someone. We were left at the mercy of the arresting officer. Mrs. Franklin wanted Mr. Franklin at her mercy.
See also: mercy, of

throw oneself at the mercy of some authority

 and throw oneself on the mercy of some authority; throw oneself (up)on someone's mercy
Fig. to seek mercy from a court of law, especially at one's sentencing for a crime; to seek help from an official or institution. He pleaded guilty and threw himself at the mercy of the court. It did no good to throw myself on the mercy of the State Department. Please don't! I throw myself upon your mercy!
See also: authority, mercy, of, throw

throw oneself on the mercy of

some authority Go to throw oneself at the mercy of some authority.
See also: mercy, of, on, throw

at the mercy of somebody/something

also at somebody's/something's mercy
unable to protect yourself from someone or something The entire movie business is at the mercy of teenage moviegoers. If you're not legally employed, you're at your employer's mercy.
See also: mercy, of

leave somebody to somebody's tender mercies

  (humorous)
to let someone be dealt with by another person who is not likely to show them any kindness or sympathy Should I have a word with her myself or leave her to Mick's tender mercies?
See also: leave, mercy, tender

be at the mercy of something/somebody

to be in a situation in which you cannot do anything to protect yourself from something or someone unpleasant Poor people are increasingly at the mercy of money-lenders. Of course, in a tent, you're at the mercy of the elements.
See throw on mercy
See also: mercy, of

be grateful/thankful for small mercies

if someone should be grateful for small mercies, they should feel grateful that something good has happened, although it is not everything that they wanted They've agreed to end the meeting half an hour early. I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies.
See also: grateful, mercy, small

throw yourself on/upon somebody's mercy

to ask someone to help you or to forgive you when you are in a difficult situation If all else fails, I might throw myself on Sandra's mercy and see if she'll drive me there.
See also: mercy, on, throw

at the mercy of

1. Also, at someone's mercy. Subject to the power of, helpless against, as in The captured rebels were at the mercy of the army commander. [Late 1500s]
2. Without any protection against, as in On top of Mount Washington we were at the mercy of the elements. [Late 1600s]
See also: mercy, of

leave to someone's tender mercies

Submit to another's power or discretion, especially to an unsympathetic individual. Today this expression is always used ironically, as in We left him to the tender mercies of that stiff-necked, arrogant nurse. It alludes to a biblical passage (Proverbs 12:10): "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
See also: leave, mercy, tender

at the mercy of

Without any protection against; helpless before: drifting in an open boat, at the mercy of the elements.
See also: mercy, of
References in classic literature ?
Would the nervous animal he rode take fright at the odor of the carnivore, and, bolting, leave Werper still to the mercies of the king of beasts?
Having fed the lion, it presently occurred to Tarzan that his act would be futile were he to leave the beast to the mercies of the blacks, and then too it occurred to him that he could derive more pleasure through causing the blacks discomfiture than by leaving Numa to his fate.
But when they were cuddled between their blankets, in Anne's little porch room, it was not her mercies of which Jane was thinking.
I told her that I suspected foul play, that I followed you both and found her father left to the tender mercies of the savages, deserted by you in the bush.
Rather than expose them to the tender mercies of his bullying jailer, he drove away for ever those gentle messengers to whom he owed the happiness of having seen Rosa again.
I thought he 'd get enough of our candy," laughed Polly; and then they fell asleep, leaving Tom to the delights of toothache and the tender mercies of kind old grandma.
Knights and archers sprang to arms, convinced that some great host was upon them; but the guide dropped upon his knees and thanked Heaven for its mercies.
Marilla felt a qualm of conscience at the thought of handing Anne over to her tender mercies.