Simple Definition of atone
: to do something good as a way to show that you are sorry about doing something bad
Did You Know?
Atone comes to us from the combination in Middle English of at and on, the latter of which is an old variant of one. Together they meant "in harmony." (In current English, we use at one with a similar suggestion of harmony in such phrases as "at one with nature.") When it first entered English, atone meant "to reconcile and suggested the restoration of a peaceful and harmonious state between people or groups." These days the verb specifically implies addressing the damage (or disharmony) caused by one's own behavior.
Origin of atone
Middle English, to become reconciled, from at on in harmony, from at + on one
First Known Use: 1574
Rhymes with atone
agon, aitchbone, alone, backbone, Bastogne, bemoan, Big Stone, birthstone, Blackstone, bloodstone, bluestone, bondstone, Boulogne, breastbone, bridge loan, brimstone, brownstone, call loan, calzone, Capone, capstone, cell phone, cheekbone, chinbone, cogon, cologne, Cologne, colon, colón, Colón, condone, copestone, corn pone, curbstone, cyclone, daimon, dapsone, debone, depone, dethrone, dial tone, disown, Dordogne, downzone, dripstone, drop zone, drystone, earphone, earth tone, end zone, enthrone, estrone, fieldstone, firestone, Firestone, flagstone, flowstone, flyblown, footstone, freestone, free zone, full-blown, gallstone, gemstone, Gijón, goldstone, gravestone, greenstone, grindstone, hailstone, halftone, handblown, hard stone, headphone, headstone, hearthstone, high-flown, hip bone, homegrown, hormone, hornstone, impone, ingrown, inkstone, in stone, intone, jawbone, jewel tone, keystone, León, leone, life zone, limestone, lodestone, long bone, Maidstone, milestone, millstone, moonstone, mudstone, nose cone, oilstone, orgone, ozone, pay phone, peptone, pinbone, pinecone, piñon, pipestone, postpone, potstone, propone, redbone, red zone, rhinestone, sandstone, shade-grown, shinbone, siltstone, snow cone, soapstone, splint bone, strike zone, T-bone, tailbone, thighbone, time zone, toadstone, tombstone, touchstone, touch-tone, tritone, trombone, turnstone, twelve-tone, two-tone, Tyrone, unknown, unthrone, war zone, well-known, whalebone, wheel-thrown, whetstone, windblown, wishbone, Yangon
ATONE Defined for Kids
Definition of atone for Students
: to do something to make up for a wrong <… her grandmother watched over her with untiring devotion, as if trying to atone for some past mistake … — Louisa May Alcott, Little Women>
Seen and Heard
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