Pen·​i·​ten·​te | \ ˌpenəˈtentā, -tē \
plural Penitentes\ -​ās , -​ēz \

Definition of Penitente

: a member of a religious society of Flagellants in Spanish-American communities of the southwestern U.S. (as New Mexico) who practice self-whipping and other forms of penitential torture particularly during Holy Week

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History and Etymology for Penitente

American Spanish, literally, penitent, singular of Penitentes Penitents, short for Los Hermanos Penitentes The Penitent Brothers, religious society that originated in Mexico

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Cite this Entry

“Penitente.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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Spanish Central: Translation of Penitente

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