noun pen·i·tence \ˈpe-nə-tən(t)s\

: a feeling of deep sadness because you have done something wrong

Full Definition of PENITENCE

:  the quality or state of being penitent :  sorrow for sins or faults

Examples of PENITENCE

  1. <the sincerity of the player's penitence is questionable—he began to express remorse only after the suspension was handed down>


Middle English, from Anglo-French penitance, from Medieval Latin poenitentia, alteration of Latin paenitentia regret, from paenitent-, paenitens, present participle
First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of PENITENCE

penitence, repentance, contrition, compunction, remorse mean regret for sin or wrongdoing. penitence implies sad and humble realization of and regret for one's misdeeds <absolution is dependent upon sincere penitence>. repentance adds the implication of a resolve to change <repentance accompanied by a complete change of character>. contrition stresses the sorrowful regret that constitutes true penitence <tearful expressions of contrition>. compunction implies a painful sting of conscience especially for contemplated wrongdoing <had no compunctions about taking back what is mine>. remorse suggests prolonged and insistent self-reproach and mental anguish for past wrongs and especially for those whose consequences cannot be remedied <thieves untroubled by feelings of remorse>.

Other Christian Religious Terms

Pentateuch, blasphemy, curate, doxology, eremite, iconoclasm, liturgy, orison, pneuma, reliquary
PENITENCE Defined for Kids


noun pen·i·tence \ˈpe-nə-təns\

Definition of PENITENCE for Kids

:  deep sadness that a person feels for his or her sins or faults


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