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

Subject to the control or actions of a particular person or thing. When you're a minor, you're totally at the mercy of your parents. When you travel by public transportation, you're always at the mercy of the weather. Her fate is at the mercy of the jury—it's their decision now.
See also: mercy, of

be at the mercy of (something)

To be subject to the control of a particular person or thing. When you're a minor, you're at the mercy of your parents completely. When you travel by public transportation, you're at the mercy of the weather. Her fate is at the mercy of the jury—it's their decision now.
See also: mercy, of

be grateful 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 grateful for small mercies. Our son's accident left him without the use of his right eye; we're just grateful for small mercies that he still has the use of his left one.
See also: grateful, mercy, small

leave (one) to (someone's) tender mercies

To allow someone to face the punishment or rebukes of another person who will not show them any mercy, kindness, or sympathy. The phrase is used ironically. I thought it would be best if I spoke to her, rather than leaving her to the principal's tender mercies. I don't have time to deal with this. I'll just leave them to Mairead's tender mercies.
See also: leave, mercy, tender

throw (oneself) on/at (someone's) mercy

To plead with someone to show one lenience and mercy. I have no excuse for what I did; I can only throw myself on your mercy and beg for forgiveness. She threw herself at the court's mercy, arguing that her dependence on drugs led her to commit those crimes.
See also: mercy, on, throw

throw (oneself) on/at the mercy of (someone)

To plead with someone, especially a figure of authority, to show one lenience and mercy. I have no excuse for what I did; I can only throw myself on the mercy of the duke and beg for his forgiveness. She threw herself at the mercy of the court, arguing that her dependence on drugs led her to commit those crimes.
See also: mercy, of, on, throw

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

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

be grateful for small mercies

or

be thankful for small mercies

COMMON If you are grateful for small mercies or are thankful for small mercies in a generally bad situation, you are glad about any aspects of it that are good. He is still receiving some money — the modest sum earmarked for young athletes — and is grateful for small mercies. In these difficult times, one can only be thankful for small mercies — that borrowing costs are relatively low. Note: People sometimes say thank heavens for small mercies or thank God for small mercies to show that they are glad about any good aspects of a generally bad situation. She is now serving a 12-month prison sentence and the baby is with her parents. Thank heavens for small mercies.
See also: grateful, mercy, small

be thankful (or grateful) for small mercies

be relieved that an unpleasant situation is alleviated by minor advantages.
See also: mercy, small, thankful

(be) at the mercy of somebody/something

not be able to stop somebody/something harming you because they have power or control over you: Small businesses are completely at the mercy of the banks these days.The little ship was at the mercy of the storm.
See also: mercy, of, somebody, something

have somebody at your ˈmercy

have somebody completely in your power or under your control: I’ve got you at my mercy now. What shall I do with you?
See also: have, mercy, somebody

leave somebody/something to the mercy/mercies of somebody/something

leave somebody/something in a situation that may cause them to suffer or to be treated badly: The soldiers had no choice but to run across open fields, which left them to the mercy of enemy gunners.

throw yourself on somebody’s ˈmercy

(formal) put yourself in a situation where you must rely on somebody to be kind to you and not harm or punish you: Throw yourself on the mercy of the court, and they might not send you to prison.
See also: mercy, on, throw

be grateful/thankful for small ˈmercies

be happy that a bad situation is not even worse: The thieves took the TV and stereo but didn’t take any jewellery, so let’s be thankful for small mercies.

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.