contrition

noun
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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

The tome provoked Cousy to reflect on his own views on race and inspired him to pen a letter of contrition to his long-ago teammate Bill Russell. Dan Shaughnessy, BostonGlobe.com, "Bob Cousy chose his words very carefully at the White House," 23 Aug. 2019 But to Walker, Vick’s contrition after prison seemed genuine. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "In court, Oregon company claims it made a $400,000 bet on NFL great Michael Vick — and that things haven’t gone well.," 9 Aug. 2019 The day started with a new note of contrition from Ms Lam. The Economist, "Hong Kong protesters storm the legislative council," 30 June 2019 As for O'Rourke, he's added slaveholding ancestors to his contrition list, along with white male privilege. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Who's got the money for 2020, Beto O'Rourke's slaveholding ancestors, Republicans condemn Trump's remarks as racist," 16 July 2019 Protesters derided her contrition as insincere, and vowed to fight on. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "Why Hong Kong Protesters Aren't Calling It Quits After the Suspension of a Controversial Extradition Bill," 19 June 2019 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of contrition

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contrition

see contrite

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contrition

Statistics for contrition

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contrition

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for contrition

contrition

noun

English Language Learners Definition of contrition

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!