Leniency is a noun that refers to the lessening of a punishment or chore. Your father’s leniency, for example, resulted in you not having to paint the entire house like your mother wanted. Instead you just had to paint the garage.

Leniency also refers to a person’s sense of mercy or tolerance. A governor’s leniency could be demonstrated when he pardons the prisoners on death row. Leniency comes from the adjective lenient, which describes someone who is tolerant or permissive. There are times when too much leniency can backfire, however. If your teacher shows leniency to the loud students who won’t sit still and refuses to punish them, the rest of your class won’t learn much.

Definitions of leniency
  1. noun

    a disposition to yield to the wishes of someone

    indulgence, lenience
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    a disposition to be lenient in judging others
    type of:

    permissiveness, tolerance

    a disposition to allow freedom of choice and behavior

  2. noun

    mercifulness as a consequence of being lenient or tolerant

    lenience, lenity, mildness
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    type of:

    mercifulness, mercy

    a disposition to be kind and forgiving

  3. noun

    lightening a penalty or excusing from a chore by judges or parents or teachers

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    clemency, mercifulness, mercy

    leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice
    commutation, re-sentencing

    (law) the reduction in severity of a punishment imposed by law
    amnesty, free pardon, pardon

    the formal act of liberating someone

    clemency or mercy shown to a defeated opponent
    reprieve, respite

    the act of reprieving; postponing or remitting punishment
    type of:


    the act of tolerating something

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