Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Inclined not to be harsh or strict; merciful, generous, or indulgent: lenient parents; lenient rules.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Lax; tolerant of deviation; permissive; not strict.
  • n. A lenitive; an emollient.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Relaxing; emollient; softening; assuasive; -- sometimes followed by of.
  • adj. Mild; clement; merciful; not rigorous or severe
  • n. A lenitive; an emollient.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Softening; mitigating; assuasive.
  • Relaxing; emollient; lenitive.
  • Acting or disposed to act without rigor or severity; mild; gentle; merciful; clement.
  • Synonyms Forbearing, tender. See leniency.
  • n. An emollient; a lenitive.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characterized by tolerance and mercy
  • adj. tolerant or lenient
  • adj. not strict

Etymologies

Obsolete French, from Latin lēniēns, lēnient-, present participle of lēnīre, to pacify, from lēnis, soft; see lē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin lēniens, present participle of lēnīre ("to soften, soothe"), from lēnis ("soft"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Robert Mugabe's cabinet, arose from his criticism of what he called lenient sentences imposed by a High Court judge on three American missionaries for possession of arms.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • And remember, sometimes that mistake is being too lenient from the beginning.

    Kristine Kathryn Rusch » 2009 » July

  • Court reviews 'lenient' sentence for rape court in East China's Zhejiang province will rehear a controversial trial that handed down what the public called a lenient sentence to two

    WN.com - Articles related to Mafias expose China's legal woes

  • He was severely reprimanded on more than one occasion for being too lenient - in other words, too gentlemanly - and finally my letters, received or written, which had been submitted to him for examination, were transferred to the detective Dennis, who, in order to seem vigilant in proportion to his former stolidity, returned me the simplest note, as being offensive to the canaille of the

    Documenting the American South: The Southern Experience in 19-th Century America

  • With such individuals the proctor's sons were disposed to be lenient, which is certainly more than could be said if he himself had to deal with them.

    The Tithe-Proctor The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two

  • And testing companies are businesses that compete with one another for contracts, so they know the benefits of providing favourable laboratory results and becoming known as the lenient lab, says Midler.

    canada.com Top Stories

  • The sentences were shorter than the maximum penalty of two years, and were described as lenient by prosecutors.

    Taipei Times

  • The FACT is – we're partly in this whole mess because Congress (under Clinton) decided lendors should be pressed to use more "lenient" lending practices helping low-income people get into houses & mortgages they otherwise could not afford.

    Senate to take up resolution apologizing for slavery

  • It's kind of hypocritical, considering how "lenient" they are with their own pedophile priests.

    Bishops slam 'unacceptable' health care bill

  • But the study found that achieving "lenient" control of fewer than 110 heart beats per minute was at least as effective in preventing death from cardiovascular causes, stroke and other life-threatening events.

    Small Steps to Heart Health

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