adjective \-tənt\

: feeling or showing sorrow and regret because you have done something wrong

Full Definition of PENITENT

:  feeling or expressing humble or regretful pain or sorrow for sins or offenses :  repentant
pen·i·tent·ly adverb

Examples of PENITENT

  1. <a penitent gossip who had come to ask for forgiveness>

Origin of PENITENT

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French penitent, from Latin paenitent-, paenitens, from present participle of paenitēre to cause regret, feel regret, perhaps from paene almost
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms

Zen, antinomian, avatar, gnosticism, illuminati, ineffable, karma, koan, mantra



: a person who is sorry for doing something wrong and asks for forgiveness : a penitent person

Full Definition of PENITENT

:  a person who repents of sin
:  a person under church censure but admitted to penance or reconciliation especially under the direction of a confessor

First Known Use of PENITENT

14th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: Penitente
Previous Word in the Dictionary: penitency
All Words Near: penitent

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up penitent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).