Definition of Mercedarian in English:


Pronunciation /məːsəˈdɛːriən/


  • A member of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy (also called Our Lady of Ransom), a religious institution founded by St Peter Nolasco in Barcelona in the early 13th century to free Christians taken prisoner by the Muslims, which subsequently turned chiefly to charitable activities, such as hospital work.

    The early Mercedarians spent much time raising funds to pay prisoners' ransoms and took vows pledging to offer their own lives, if need be, in exchange for those of hostages.


Early 20th century; earliest use found in Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language. From Spanish mercedario, a member of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy + -an.