Meaning of lenient in English:


Pronunciation /ˈliːnɪənt/

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Translate lenient into Spanish


  • 1(of a punishment or person in authority) more merciful or tolerant than expected.

    ‘in the view of the Court the sentence was too lenient’
    • ‘lenient magistrates’
    • ‘Lewis was banned from boxing after his act and for many, that punishment was too lenient.’
    • ‘He was always easygoing but not too lenient and he was always sweet but not sickeningly mushy.’
    • ‘There is no need for them to be lenient, nor are they expected to close their eyes to evil practices.’
    • ‘It is no wonder labor unions holding illegal protests expect the government to be lenient.’
    • ‘Therefore, I will not suspend you this time, but do not expect me to be so lenient with you next time.’
    • ‘When those convicted are let off with lenient sentences what do people expect?’
    • ‘If we forgive too easily or grow too lenient in our criminal justice system, we may ignore the genuine harm done.’
    • ‘Engineering sector lawmaker Raymond Ho said the punishment meted out was too lenient.’
    • ‘The punishment must fit the crime, yet we let magistrates get away with handing out lenient sentences.’
    • ‘Perhaps this is a poor assumption, but if you were ever to be caught, the authorities might be more lenient with you.’
    • ‘Dance companies are more lenient about tattoos than you might expect, and certainly more so than they once were.’
    • ‘A journalist in Melbourne wrote a column suggesting that a local magistrate was too lenient on criminals.’
    • ‘To make matters worse, the Criminal Code orders judges to give lenient sentences to Indian criminals.’
    • ‘The punishment for a woman is more lenient - she must stay in prison until she reverts, however long it takes.’
    • ‘However he has a heart problem which might cause the authorities to impose a much more lenient sentence, it reports.’
    • ‘Many thought this too lenient a punishment for a teenager who had created the world's most prolific computer worms.’
    • ‘Well, it seems Mr Adler's interpretation of that punishment was a little more lenient than the law would prefer.’
    • ‘Academic staff at overseas universities tend to be more lenient towards guest students from developing countries.’
    • ‘He suggested that leaders on both sides should be more lenient.’
    • ‘The 30-month sentence has been criticized by Australia and the United States as too lenient.’
    merciful, clement, sparing, forgiving, forbearing, tolerant, moderate, charitable, humane, indulgent, easy-going, magnanimous, sympathetic, compassionate, pitying, kind, kindly, kind-hearted, benevolent, gentle
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  • 2archaic Mild or soothing; emollient.


Mid 17th century (in lenient (sense 2)): from Latin lenient- ‘soothing’, from the verb lenire, from lenis ‘mild, gentle’.