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From Anglo-Norman amercier, from Old French a (at) + merci (mercy), thus “at the mercy of”.



amerce (third-person singular simple present amerces, present participle amercing, simple past and past participle amerced)

  1. (transitive) To impose a fine on; to fine.
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene I:
      But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine
      That you shall all repent the loss of mine:
    • 1803, David Hume, The History of England, Volume 9, J. Wallis (1803), page 10:
      The person, in whose house the conventicle met, was amerced a like sum.
    • 2002, Christopher Dyer, Making a Living in the Middle Ages: The People of Britain 850-1520, Yale University Press (2002), →ISBN, page 180:
      Lords responded to these offences by amercing (fining) them in the manor court, the revenues of which could provide a twentieth, or even a higher proportion of estate income.
  2. (transitive) To punish; to make an exaction.
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I, ll. 607-10:
      The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
      (Far other once beheld in bliss), condemn'd
      For ever now to have their lot in pain,
      Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc't
    • 1821, Byron, Cain, Act III, Scene I:
      Thou know'st thou art naked! Must the time
      Come thou shalt be amerced for sins unknown,

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