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

  • n. The act or process of repenting.
  • n. Remorse or contrition for past conduct or sin. See Synonyms at penitence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The condition of being penitent
  • n. A feeling of regret or remorse for doing wrong or sinning

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of repenting, or the state of being penitent; sorrow for what one has done or omitted to do; especially, contrition for sin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of repenting; the state of being penitent; sorrow or contrition for what one has done or left undone.
  • n. In theology, a change of mental and spiritual habit respecting sin, involving a hatred of and sorrow because of it, and a hearty and genuine abandonment of it in conduct of life.
  • n. Synonyms Repentance, Penitence, Contrition, Compunction, Regret, Remorse, may express the sorrowful feeling of the wrong-doer in view of his conduct. Regret is quite as often used of wishing that one had not done that which is unwise; as applied to misconduct, it expresses the feeblest degree of sorrow for doing wrong; but it may contain no element of real repentance. Repentance goes beyond feeling to express distinct purposes of turning from sin to righteousness; the Bible word most often translated repentance means a change of mental and spiritual attitude toward sin. Strictly, repentance is the beginning of amendment of life; the word does not imply any greater degree of feeling than is necessary to bring about a change, whether the turning be from a particular sin or from an attitude of sin. Penitence implies a large measure of feeling, and applies more exclusively than repentance to wrong-doing as an offense against God and right. Contrition, literally breaking or bruising, is essentially the same as penitence; it is a deep, quiet, and continued sorrow, chiefly for specific acts. Compunction, literally pricking, is a sharp pang of regret or self-reproach, often momentary and not always resulting in moral benefit. It is more likely than remorse to result in good. Remorse, literally gnawing, is naturally sharper mental suffering than compunction; the word often suggests a sort of spiritual despair or hopelessness, paralyzing one for efforts to attain repentance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. remorse for your past conduct


First attested circa 14th century, from Old French repentance. More at repent. (Wiktionary)



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