1

penance

play
noun pen·ance \ ˈpe-nən(t)s \

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.
2 :a sacramental rite that is practiced in Roman, Eastern, and some Anglican churches and that consists of private confession, absolution, and a penance directed by the confessor (see confessor 3a)
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

  1. He did charitable work as a penance.

Recent Examples of penance from the Web

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

Other Christian Religious Terms


2

penance

verb

Definition of penance

penanced; penancing
transitive verb
:to impose penance on

Origin and Etymology of penance

Other Christian Religious Terms


PENANCE Defined for English Language Learners

penance

play
noun

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

penance

play
noun pen·ance \ ˈpe-nəns \

Definition of penance for Students

:an act showing sorrow or regret for sin


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