Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Mercenary adjective [ Middle English mercenarie , French mercenaire , from Latin mercenarius , from merces wages, reward. See Mercy .]
1. Acting for reward; serving for pay; paid; hired; hireling; venal; as, mercenary soldiers.

2. Hence: Moved by considerations of pay or profit; greedy of gain; sordid; selfish. Shak.

For God forbid I should my papers blot
With mercenary lines, with servile pen.
Daniel.

Syn. -- See Venal .

Mercenary noun ; plural Mercenaries One who is hired; a hireling; especially, a soldier hired into foreign service. Milman.

Mercer noun [ French mercier , from Latin merx , mercis , wares, merchandise. See Merchant .] Originally, a dealer in any kind of goods or wares; now restricted to a dealer in textile fabrics, as silks or woolens. [ Eng.]

Mercerize transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle -ized ; present participle & verbal noun -izing .] [ From (John) Mercer (1791-1866), an English calico printer who introduced the process + -ize .] To treat (cotton fiber or fabrics) with a solution of caustic alkali. Such treatment causes the fiber to shrink in length and become stronger and more receptive of dyes. If the yarn or cloth is kept under tension during the process, it assumes a silky luster. -- Mer`cer*i*za"tion noun

Mercership noun The business of a mercer.

Mercery noun [ French mercerie .] The trade of mercers; the goods in which a mercer deals.

Merchand intransitive verb [ French marchander . See Merchant .] To traffic. [ Obsolete] Bacon.

Merchandisable adjective Such as can be used or transferred as merchandise.

Merchandise noun [ French marchandise , Old French marcheandise .]
1. The objects of commerce; whatever is usually bought or sold in trade, or market, or by merchants; wares; goods; commodities. Spenser.

2. The act or business of trading; trade; traffic.

Merchandise intransitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Merchandised ; present participle & verbal noun Merchandising .] To trade; to carry on commerce. Bacon.

Merchandise transitive verb To make merchandise of; to buy and sell. "Love is merchandised ." Shak.

Merchandiser noun A trader. Bunyan.

Merchandry noun [ See Merchant .] Trade; commerce. [ Obsolete] Bp. Sanderson.

Merchant noun [ Middle English marchant , Old French marcheant , French marchand , from Late Latin mercatans , -antis , present participle of mercatare to negotiate, Latin mercari to traffic, from merx , mercis , wares. See Market , Merit , and confer Commerce .]
1. One who traffics on a large scale, especially with foreign countries; a trafficker; a trader.

Others, like merchants , venture trade abroad.
Shak.

2. A trading vessel; a merchantman. [ Obsolete] Shak.

3. One who keeps a store or shop for the sale of goods; a shopkeeper. [ U. S. & Scot.]

Merchant adjective Of, pertaining to, or employed in, trade or merchandise; as, the merchant service.

Merchant bar , Merchant iron or steel , certain common sizes of wrought iron and steel bars. -- Merchant service , the mercantile marine of a country. Am. Cyc. -- Merchant ship , a ship employed in commerce. -- Merchant tailor , a tailor who keeps and sells materials for the garments which he makes.

Merchant intransitive verb To be a merchant; to trade. [ Obsolete]

Merchantable adjective Fit for market; such as is usually sold in market, or such as will bring the ordinary price; as, merchantable wheat; sometimes, a technical designation for a particular kind or class.

Merchantly adjective Merchantlike; suitable to the character or business of a merchant. [ Obsolete] Gauden.

Merchantman noun ; plural Merchantmen


1. A merchant. [ Obsolete] Matt. xiii. 45.

2. A trading vessel; a ship employed in the transportation of goods, as, distinguished from a man-of- war.

Merchantry noun
1. The body of merchants taken collectively; as, the merchantry of a country.

2. The business of a merchant; merchandise. Walpole.

Merciable adjective [ Old French ] Merciful. [ Obsolete]

Merciful adjective [ Mercy + - ful .]
1. Full of mercy; having or exercising mercy; disposed to pity and spare offenders; unwilling to punish.

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 , adverb -- Mer"ci*ful*ness , noun

Mercify transitive verb To pity. [ Obsolete] Spenser.

Merciless adjective Destitute of mercy; cruel; unsparing; -- said of animate beings, and also, figuratively, of things; as, a merciless tyrant; merciless waves.

The foe is merciless , and will not pity.
Shak.

Syn. -- Cruel; unmerciful; remorseless; ruthless; pitiless; barbarous; savage.

-- Mer"ci*less*ly , adverb -- Mer"ci*less*ness , noun

Mercurammonium noun [ Mercur ic + ammonium .] (Chemistry) A radical regarded as derived from ammonium by the substitution of mercury for a portion of the hydrogen.

Mercurial adjective [ Latin mercurialis , from Mercurius Mercury: confer French mercuriel .]
1. Having the qualities fabled to belong to the god Mercury; swift; active; sprightly; fickle; volatile; changeable; as, a mercurial youth; a mercurial temperament.

A mercurial man
Who fluttered over all things like a fan.
Byron.

2. Having the form or image of Mercury; -- applied to ancient guideposts. [ Obsolete] Chillingworth.

3. Of or pertaining to Mercury as the god of trade; hence, money-making; crafty.

The mercurial wand of commerce.
J. Q. Adams.

4. Of or pertaining to, or containing, mercury; as, mercurial preparations, barometer. See Mercury , 2.

5. (Medicine) Caused by the use of mercury; as, mercurial sore mouth.

Mercurial noun
1. A person having mercurial qualities. Bacon.

2. (Medicine) A preparation containing mercury.

Mercurialism noun [ Mercurial + -ism .] (Medicine) The morbid condition produced by the excessive use of mercury, or by exposure to its fumes, as in mining or smelting.

Me"ro noun [ Spanish ; confer Portuguese mero .] Any of several large groupers of warm seas, esp. the guasa ( Epinephelus guaza ), the red grouper ( E. morio ), the black grouper ( E. nigritas ), distinguished as Me"ro de lo al"to and a species called also rock hind , distinguished as Me"ro ca*brol"la
Mercurialist noun
1. One under the influence of Mercury; one resembling Mercury in character.

2. (Medicine) A physician who uses much mercury, in any of its forms, in his practice.

Mercurialize transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Mercurialized ; present participle & verbal noun Mercurializing .]
1. (Medicine) To affect with mercury.

2. (Photography) To treat with mercury; to expose to the vapor of mercury.

Mercurialize intransitive verb To be sprightly, fantastic, or capricious. [ Obsolete]

Mercurially adverb In a mercurial manner.

Mercuric adjective (Chemistry) Of, pertaining to, or derived from, mercury; containing mercury; -- said of those compounds of mercury into which this element enters in its lowest proportion.

Mercuric chloride , corrosive sublimate. See Corrosive .

Mercurification noun [ Confer French mercurification . See Mercurify .]
1. (Metal.) The process or operation of obtaining the mercury, in its fluid form, from mercuric minerals.

2. (Chemistry) The act or process of compounding, or the state of being compounded, with mercury. [ R.]

Mercurify transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Mercurified ; present participle & verbal noun Mercurifying .] [ Mercury + -fy .]
1. To obtain mercury from, as mercuric minerals, which may be done by any application of intense heat that expels the mercury in fumes, which are afterward condensed. [ R.]

2. To combine or mingle mercury with; to impregnate with mercury; to mercurialize. [ R.]

Mercurism noun A communication of news; an announcement. [ Obsolete] Sir T. Browne.

Mercurous adjective (Chemistry) Of, pertaining to, or derived from, mercury; containing mercury; -- said of those compounds of mercury in which it is present in its highest proportion.

Mercurous chloride . (Chemistry) See Calomel .

Mercury noun [ Latin Mercurius ; akin to merx wares.]
1. (Rom. Myth.) A Latin god of commerce and gain; -- treated by the poets as identical with the Greek Hermes, messenger of the gods, conductor of souls to the lower world, and god of eloquence.

2. (Chemistry) A metallic element mostly obtained by reduction from cinnabar, one of its ores. It is a heavy, opaque, glistening liquid (commonly called quicksilver ), and is used in barometers, thermometers, etc. Specific gravity 13.6. Symbol Hg ( Hydrargyrum ). Atomic weight 199.8. Mercury has a molecule which consists of only one atom. It was named by the alchemists after the god Mercury, and designated by his symbol, &mercury;.

» Mercury forms alloys, called amalgams , with many metals, and is thus used in applying tin foil to the backs of mirrors, and in extracting gold and silver from their ores. It is poisonous, and is used in medicine in the free state as in blue pill, and in its compounds as calomel, corrosive sublimate, etc. It is the only metal which is liquid at ordinary temperatures, and it solidifies at about -39° Centigrade to a soft, malleable, ductile metal.

3. (Astron.) One of the planets of the solar system, being the one nearest the sun, from which its mean distance is about 36,000,000 miles. Its period is 88 days, and its diameter 3,000 miles.

4. A carrier of tidings; a newsboy; a messenger; hence, also, a newspaper. Sir J. Stephen. "The monthly Mercuries ." Macaulay.

5. Sprightly or mercurial quality; spirit; mutability; fickleness. [ Obsolete]

He was so full of mercury that he could not fix long in any friendship, or to any design.
Bp. Burnet.

6. (Botany) A plant ( Mercurialis annua ), of the Spurge family, the leaves of which are sometimes used for spinach, in Europe.

» The name is also applied, in the United States, to certain climbing plants, some of which are poisonous to the skin, esp. to the Rhus Toxicodendron , or poison ivy.

Dog's mercury (Botany) , Mercurialis perennis , a perennial plant differing from M. annua by having the leaves sessile. -- English mercury (Botany) , a kind of goosefoot formerly used as a pot herb; - - called Good King Henry . -- Horn mercury (Min.) , a mineral chloride of mercury, having a semitranslucent, hornlike appearance.

Mercury transitive verb To wash with a preparation of mercury. [ Obsolete] B. Jonson.

Mercy noun ; plural Mercies . [ Middle English merci , French merci , Latin merces , mercedis , hire, pay, reward, Late Latin , equiv. to misericordia pity, mercy. Latin merces is probably akin to merere to deserve, acquire. See Merit , and confer Amerce .]
1. Forbearance to inflict harm under circumstances of provocation, when one has the power to inflict it; compassionate treatment of an offender or adversary; clemency.

Examples of justice must be made for terror to some; examples of mercy for comfort to others.
Bacon.

2. Compassionate treatment of the unfortunate and helpless; sometimes, favor, beneficence. Luke x. 37.

3. Disposition to exercise compassion or favor; pity; compassion; willingness to spare or to help.

In whom mercy lacketh and is not founden.
Sir T. Elyot.

4. A blessing regarded as a manifestation of compassion or favor.

The Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
2 Cor. i. 3.

Mercy seat (Bib.) , the golden cover or lid of the Ark of the Covenant. See Ark , 2. -- Sisters of Mercy (R. C. Ch.) , a religious order founded in Dublin in the year 1827. Communities of the same name have since been established in various American cities. The duties of those belonging to the order are, to attend lying-in hospitals, to superintend the education of girls, and protect decent women out of employment, to visit prisoners and the sick, and to attend persons condemned to death. -- To be at the mercy of , to be wholly in the power of.

Syn. -- See Grace .

Merd noun [ French merde , Latin merda .] Ordure; dung. [ Obsolete] Burton.

Mere (mēr) noun [ Written also mar .] [ Middle English mere , Anglo-Saxon mere mere, sea; akin to Dutch meer lake, Old Saxon meri sea, Old High German meri , mari , German meer , Icelandic marr , Goth. marei , Russian more , W. mor , Ir. & Gael. muir , Latin mare , and perhaps to Latin mori to die, and meaning originally, that which is dead, a waste. Confer Mortal , Marine , Marsh , Mermaid , Moor .] A pool or lake. Drayton. Tennyson.

Mere noun [ Written also meer and mear .] [ Anglo-Saxon gemǣre . √269.] A boundary. Bacon.

Mere transitive verb To divide, limit, or bound. [ Obsolete]

Which meared her rule with Africa.
Spenser.

Mere noun A mare. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Mere adjective [ Superl. Merest . The comparative is rarely or never used.] [ Latin merus .]
1. Unmixed; pure; entire; absolute; unqualified.

Then entered they the mere , main sea.
Chapman.

The sorrows of this world would be mere and unmixed.
Jer. Taylor.

2. Only this, and nothing else; such, and no more; simple; bare; as, a mere boy; a mere form.

From mere success nothing can be concluded in favor of any nation.
Atterbury.

Merely adverb
1. Purely; unmixedly; absolutely.

Ulysses was to force forth his access,
Though merely naked.
Chapman.

2. Not otherwise than; simply; barely; only.

Prize not your life for other ends
Than merely to oblige your friends.
Swift.

Syn. -- Solely; simply; purely; barely; scarcely.

Merenchyma noun [ New Latin , from Greek ... a part + -enchyma , as in parenchyma .] (Botany) Tissue composed of spheroidal cells.

Meresman noun An officer who ascertains meres or boundaries. [ Eng.]

Merestead noun [ Mere boundary + stead place.] The land within the boundaries of a farm; a farmstead or farm. [ Archaic.] Longfellow.