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

  • n. Relaxation of monastic rules, as a dispensation from fasting.
  • n. The room in a monastery used by monks who have been granted such a dispensation.
  • n. A bracket attached to the underside of a hinged seat in a church stall against which a standing person may lean. Also called miserere.
  • n. A narrow dagger used in medieval times to deliver the death stroke to a seriously wounded knight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. relaxation of monastic rules.
  • n. The room in a monastery for monks granted such relaxation.
  • n. a subsellium.
  • n. a medieval dagger, used for the mercy stroke to a wounded foe.


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

Middle English, pity, from Old French, from Latin misericordia, from misericors, misericord-, merciful : miserērī, to feel pity; see miserere + cor, cord-, heart; see kerd- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Established 1200–50 from Middle English misericorde (an act of clemency) from Middle French from Latin misericordia (pity).


  • Did that order of misericord blades come in, Thomas?

    Clockwork Angel

  • “As we have,” he said, “in the course of this our toilsome journey, lost our meridian, 47 indulgence shall be given to those of our attendants who shall, from very weariness, be unable to attend the duty at prime, 48 and this by way of misericord or indulgentia.”

    The Monastery

  • For those who didn't know her, Elaine was an amazing woman, who probably knew every misericord and choir stall in Western Europe and had photographed all of them.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • This seat (or misericord), made for the clergy to rest on during services, includes a carving of a griffin and a rabbit who is trying to escape down a hole.

    Alice's adventures started here...

  • In her right hand was a rapier, and in the left a misericord, one of the thin elongated daggers used by plate-armored combatants.

    Conqueror's Moon

  • “Just tell me one thing,” I said, sliding the misericord out and handing it over to two first-year students.

    To Say Nothing of the Dog

  • A misericord carved with one of the Seven Works of Mercy.

    To Say Nothing of the Dog

  • The taller man held his falchion and a second weapon now, a long, dark-bladed misericord as main

    Night Arrant

  • He recoiled when he saw Sir Roger's glaive and misericord.

    The High Crusade

  • He rummaged in his saddlebags and, besides some homely equipment like a jar of oil, turned up an extra misericord.

    Three Hearts and Three Lions


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  • She loved that word, "misericord," because it sounded so wretched and yet it wasn't. It meant tenderhearted, from the Latin for heart, "cor," from which you also get "core" and "cordial" but not "cardiac," which from via the Latin from the Greek for heart—"kardia" (although they mut surely be related at some ancient, ur-level.
    Kate Atkinson, Case Histories (New York: Little Brown & Co., 2004), p. 138.

    May 30, 2016

  • Is this a dagger I see before me?

    November 2, 2011

  • It all hinges on relaxing!

    November 2, 2011

  • Wonderful visuals.

    November 1, 2011

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

    Variant(s): also mi·ser·i·corde \mə-ˈzer-ə-ˌkȯrd, -ˈser-\

    Function: noun

    Etymology: Medieval Latin misericordia seat in church, from Latin, mercy, from misericord-, misericors merciful, from misereri + cord-, cor heart — more at heart

    Date: circa 1515

    : a small projection on the bottom of a hinged church seat that gives support to a standing worshiper when the seat is turned up

    February 24, 2008