One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A psalm in which mercy is sought, especially Psalm 51 or the music written for it.
2another term for misericord (sense 1)
- ‘Other features of the church are the fine restored rood-screen, the 15th century font with its enriched Jacobean cover, the carved bench-ends under the tower and two 15th century stalls with misereres in the chancel, and a certain amount of medieval glass in two windows.’
- ‘The splendid choir stalls with well-carved misereres are of this dating.’
- ‘Wooden chancel screens are very numerous, the upper part being divided by mullions, supporting tracery, and the whole was elaborately treated with panelling, niches, statues, and pinnacles.’
Middle English: from Latin, ‘have mercy!’, imperative of misereri, from miser ‘wretched’.
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