Definition of penance
1 : an act of self-abasement, mortification (see mortification 1), or devotion performed to show sorrow or repentance for sin He did charitable work as a penance.
3 : something (such as a hardship or penalty) resembling an act of penance (as in compensating for an offense) who go on cheap camping trips instead of real vacations as a kind of penance — Judith Thurman
Examples of penance in a Sentence
He did charitable work as a penance.
Recent Examples of penance from the Web
As part of its penance, Uber emailed a letter to riders in New York City last week apologizing for its missteps.
He was eventually punished by the Vatican in 2011, when he was ordered to live a life a penance and prayer for his crimes.
If Guillen is serving a baseball penance for controversial comments about late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, five years seems long enough.
While the prophecies refer to events of the twentieth century, the Pope drew parallels between the Virgin Mary's century-old call for penance and reconciliation during World War I and today.
The prevailing mood is one of suffering: pilgrimages, confinement, penance and death.
And like so many drunk on a Saturday Night Fever, America eventually woke up with a raging hangover and threw itself into a heartfelt Sunday morning penance.
Now Bush’s portraits of 98 veterans, accompanied by their harrowing stories of injury and recovery, reveal a surprisingly adept artist doing penance for a great disaster of American history.
Nothing about Johnny Rotten’s aggressively careless posture conveyed penance, vulnerability, or any of the other things Healy has to worry about.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penance'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
How Should You Use penance?
Penance as a form of apology for a mistake can be either voluntary or ordered by someone else. Many religions include penance among the ways in which believers can show repentance or regret for a misdeed. The Christian season of Lent, 40 days long, is traditionally a time for doing penance.
Origin and Etymology of penance
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin poenitentia penitence
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Definition of penance
: to impose penance on
PENANCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of penance for English Language Learners
: something that you do or are given to do in order to show that you are sad or sorry about doing something wrong
PENANCE Defined for Kids
Definition of penance for Students
: an act showing sorrow or regret for sin
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up penance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).