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

Expressing horror at your own thoughtlessness and the deepest contrition should do it. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: She served me a beer from her armpit," 12 June 2019 But even the interview was apparently mishandled because Pruitt went on the air despite a report from the Washington Post that the White House asked him not do so, displaying no contrition for his actions. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "Trump EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns as ethical scandals mount," 5 July 2018 For without contrition, there can be no forgiveness. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "My Short List of Things That Need to Be ‘De-Invented’," 9 Nov. 2018 On the one hand, his contrition is incredibly winning. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Matt Tyrnauer’s New Documentary, Studio 54, Takes On the Rise, Fall, and Last Days of Disco," 4 Oct. 2018 His drunk scene in Cyprus (orchestrated by Iago) is heartbreaking; so is his abject contrition afterward. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: A Cool-Tempered ‘Othello’ for Warm Central Park Nights," 18 June 2018 After the allegations about him broke there were some nice-sounding apologies, promises and gestures, and numerous holiday parties were sacrificed in the name of male contrition. A. O. Scott And Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Dear Movie Industry, We Have Thoughts," 2 May 2018 Khosrowshahi has done his best to convey level-headedness and contrition for Uber’s past sins—an expensive endeavor, as detailed in a recent Wall Street Journal piece about big corporate apology tours. David Meyer, Fortune, "Uber Turned Down a $3 Billion Investment From Warren Buffett. That's Good News for Uber—Really.," 31 May 2018 In preparing the statement, Zillo asked if there was any sign of contrition from Gossage, something resembling an olive branch. New York Times, "An Exiled Old-Timer, Goose Gossage Still Won’t Back Down," 15 June 2018

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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Statistics for contrition

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contrition

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

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English Language Learners Definition of contrition

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on contrition

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with contrition

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contrition

Spanish Central: Translation of contrition

Nglish: Translation of contrition for Spanish Speakers

Comments on contrition

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