con·​tri·​tion | \ kən-ˈtri-shən How to pronounce contrition (audio) \

Definition of contrition

: the state of being contrite : repentance She shed tears of contrition for her sins.

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Choose the Right Synonym for contrition

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

Examples of contrition in a Sentence

Were her tears a true sign of contrition? once again she heard her abusive husband's tearful expressions of contrition
Recent Examples on the Web Their actions—and their lack of contrition—raise an open question: Can members of Congress trust one another to keep each other safe? Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Call Is Coming From Inside the House (and Senate)," 13 Jan. 2021 To them, Burrows’ defense of the meeting on the radio did not show contrition. James Barragán, Dallas News, "After targeting GOP lawmakers in elections, can Dustin Burrows find redemption in the Texas House?," 11 Dec. 2020 Through contrition, maturity, and sometimes discipline via the justice system, people grow and change. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Coyotes created another problem for themselves by drafting Mitchell Miller," 23 Oct. 2020 Mullen’s admission, in spite of the caveat, was a rare display of contrition during a season featuring plenty of unnecessary attention for him and his program. Edgar Thompson,, "UF coach Dan Mullen’s unfiltered, unprecedented 2020 season nears conclusion," 26 Dec. 2020 Jonathan's mother told Grace on a recent phone call that Jonathan showed no sign of remorse or contrition for his own sister's passing. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Undoing Viewers Are Now Trolling Their Finale Theories," 30 Nov. 2020 But if the leadership in Peking wanted to make the point that no one, not even someone as rich, famous and internationally connected as Ma, could step out of line, submission and contrition would not be enough. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Note: Betting on a Biden Binge," 3 Nov. 2020 Alomar did not speak to Clevinger and Plesac, but was told both showed contrition. Tom Withers, Star Tribune, "Fresh start: Clevinger back with Indians after demotion," 25 Aug. 2020 Its theme was the need for humility and contrition on the part of the country's pollsters and pundits. Damon Linker, TheWeek, "What we know about the election results — and what we don't," 4 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contrition

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contrition

see contrite

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Time Traveler for contrition

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The first known use of contrition was in the 14th century

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Statistics for contrition

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contrition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce contrition (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of contrition

formal : the state of feeling sorry for bad behavior : the state of being contrite

More from Merriam-Webster on contrition

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Nglish: Translation of contrition for Spanish Speakers

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