Definition of contrite
: feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming a contrite criminal a contrite apology contrite sighs
contrite was our Word of the Day on 11/01/2010. Hear the podcast!
Examples of contrite in a Sentence
Allbaugh apologized, though it was clear he was hardly contrite. —Christopher Cooper &Robert Block, Disaster, 2006
… Teddy was immediately contrite. “That was stupid of me. Forgive me.” —Jack Higgins, The President's Daughter, 1998
At the airport, the meter registers nine pounds, and of course he had said six or seven. I have a sense now of his feeling somewhat contrite, or perhaps only abashed. —Renata Adler, Pitch Dark, 1983
… for days afterward, afraid of himself and worried about his sanity, he would be contrite and terribly ashamed. —John Nichols, The Milagro Beanfield War, 1974
being contrite is not enough to spare you an arrest if you're caught shoplifting
Recent Examples of contrite from the Web
The statement that Woods released Monday, while contrite, came up a few assertions short of accountability.
In a meeting with analysts last week, Mr. Benioff sounded unusually contrite and somewhat shocked that his impetuous style had riled his biggest shareholders.
And now, seeing the rise of Trump, Schwartz feels contrite.
But Russian sports officials have grown more contrite in recent months after hiring crisis communications experts out of Washington.
Mr. Rubio, speaking to voters in Topeka, Kan., on Friday morning, seemed somewhat contrite about the ugly turn the debate took.
One man started filming the contrite drone operator with his smartphone.
Contrite after his defeat, Allen is seeking a comeback this year, against another former governor and Democratic national chairman, Tim Kaine.
The boys standing behind him watched Murray nervously, a look on their faces that was almost contrite.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrite'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
A person who is contrite may have rubbed someone the wrong way and caused bruised feelings - and there is a hint about the origins of the word in that thought. Contrite came to English by way of Anglo-French from the Latin verb conterere, meaning "to grind" or "to bruise." Conterere, in turn, was formed by combining the prefix com- and terere, meaning "to rub." If you've guessed that trite is a cousin of contrite (through terere), you are correct. Other terere descendants in English include detriment and tribulation, and very possibly the familiar verb try.
CONTRITE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of contrite for English Language Learners
: feeling or showing regret for bad behavior
CONTRITE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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