Simple Definition of compunction
: a feeling of guilt or regret ( chiefly US )
Full Definition of compunction
1 a : anxiety arising from awareness of guilt <compunctions of conscience> b : distress of mind over an anticipated action or result <showed no compunction in planning devilish engines of … destruction — Havelock Ellis>
2 : a twinge of misgiving : scruple <cheated without compunction>
Examples of compunction
a brutal murderer who killed without compunction
He feels no compunction about his crimes.
He has no compunctions about his crimes.
Origin of compunction
Middle English compunccioun, from Anglo-French compunction, from Late Latin compunction-, compunctio, from Latin compungere to prick hard, sting, from com- + pungere to prick — more at pungent
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of compunction
qualm, scruple, compunction, demur mean a misgiving about what one is doing or going to do. qualm implies an uneasy fear that one is not following one's conscience or better judgment <no qualms about plagiarizing>. scruple implies doubt of the rightness of an act on grounds of principle <no scruples against buying stolen goods>. compunction implies a spontaneous feeling of responsibility or compassion for a potential victim <had compunctions about lying>. demur implies hesitation caused by objection to an outside suggestion or influence <accepted her decision without demur>.
Rhymes with compunction
Seen and Heard
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