AskDefine | Define amerce

Dictionary Definition



1 punish with an arbitrary penalty
2 punish by a fine imposed arbitrarily by the discretion of the court

User Contributed Dictionary



from Anglo-French amercier, from à + merci (at the mercy of), from mercedem (‘remuneration, favour, mercy’).



Alternative spellings


  1. To impose a fine on; to fine.
    • But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine, that you shall all repent the loss of mine - Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"
    • 1806: The person, in whose house the conventicle met, was amerced a like sum. — Hume, History of England
  2. To punish, to make an exaction.
    • 1667: condemn'd / For ever now to have thir lot in pain, / Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc't / Of Heav'n — John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1, ll. 607-10
    • Thou shalt be amerced for sins unknown. - Byron, "Cain"

Derived terms

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