penitent

adjective
pen·​i·​tent | \ ˈpe-nə-tənt How to pronounce penitent (audio) \

Definition of penitent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: feeling or expressing humble or regretful pain or sorrow for sins or offenses : repentant

penitent

noun

Definition of penitent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person who repents of sin
2 : a person under church censure but admitted to penance or reconciliation especially under the direction of a confessor

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Other Words from penitent

Adjective

penitently adverb

Examples of penitent in a Sentence

Adjective a penitent gossip who had come to ask for forgiveness
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective However, lawmakers returned six years later to reinstate the clergy-penitent privilege. Arizona Republic, "Bisbee man confesses he's molesting his daughter. Church tells bishop not to report abuse to authorities," 21 Apr. 2020 Even if absolution is denied, though, the exchange between penitent and confessor is to remain confidential. San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘I confess': should the ‘seal of the confessional’ protect pedophiles?," 4 Aug. 2019 As with McBride’s voice-over, which Pitt delivers in intimate tones — like a lover or penitent whispering confidences in your ear — the helmet alternately reveals and obscures the character, putting the narrative dynamic into visual terms. New York Times, "‘Ad Astra’ Review: Brad Pitt Orbits the Powers of Darkness," 20 Sep. 2019 This rule applies, for example, to conversations between a lawyer and a client, between a priest and a penitent, and between a husband and wife. NBC News, "Transcript: Tom Brokaw Remembers Watergate," 19 Nov. 2019 Stacked up one by one, the whole thing feels unrelenting, like a a permanent, penitent chorus, sung in harmony, museum to museum. . BostonGlobe.com, "As museums evolve, the MFA marks 150th anniversary by embracing change - The Boston Globe," 11 Oct. 2019 The Rockets organization was similarly penitent, and rumors began to circulate that Morey, one of the league’s most talented executives, could lose his job. Nathaniel Friedman, The New Republic, "In Its Fight With China, the NBA Shows Its True Colors," 11 Oct. 2019 Ito was penitent in a meeting this week meant to air grievances and begin to heal disagreements, according to a New York Times report. Washington Post, "Joi Ito should be fired from MIT’s Media Lab after taking funding from felon Jeffrey Epstein," 6 Sep. 2019 Some former Shining Path fighters joined: los arrepentidos, the penitent ones. Rachel Nolan, Harper's magazine, "A Jagged Scrap of History," 24 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Benenson, who was also Hillary Clinton’s pollster, on a campaign that failed to measure the intensity of the anti-establishment wave, paused for a minute, considering the image of Trump giving a penitent speech. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "How Trump Could Win," 11 Sep. 2020 Beneath the statue of St. Joseph, a handmade system of green and red light bulbs indicated whether the adjacent storage room was empty for the next penitent. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "Empty churches and the empty tomb," 12 Apr. 2020 The California Catholic Conference said the ‘seal of confession’ is one of the most sacrosanct of Catholic beliefs, and that penitents rely on this unbreakable guarantee to freely confess and seek reconciliation with God. John Woolfolk, The Mercury News, "Bill to require California priests to report confessions of child sex abuse on hold," 9 July 2019 Hiking from Geneva to Rome In medieval times, the Via Francigena trail wound from Canterbury, England, to Rome, Italy, attracting pilgrims and penitents. Jennifer Barger, National Geographic, "Trips of a lifetime: Secrets from our readers," 19 Dec. 2019 Images that derive from conservative Catholic penitents — a person who confesses sins and seeks absolution — merges with a marauding Ku Klux Klansman, a cruel villain of American history. Los Angeles Times, "Review: As impeachment flashbacks go, few better than Philip Guston’s ‘Tricky Dick’ drawings," 9 Oct. 2019 Some of the penitents had their backs inflicted with cuts to keep them bloody. Washington Post, "Devotees reenact Good Friday crucifixions in Philippines," 30 Mar. 2018 The crowd grows so dense — easily in the hundreds — that when we are finally admitted into the garden, the mass of humanity moves along the path like a slow procession of super stylish penitents. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Sanctity and sex in installations devoted to chapels and cruising at Venice Architecture Biennale," 27 May 2018 Prior to the cross nailings, dozens of male penitents walked several kilometers (miles) along village streets while beating their bare backs with sharp bamboo sticks and pieces of wood. Time, "Catholic Devotees Were Nailed to Crosses for Good Friday in the Philippines," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penitent.' 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 penitent

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for penitent

Adjective

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French penitent, from Latin paenitent-, paenitens, from present participle of paenitēre to cause regret, feel regret, perhaps from paene almost

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Time Traveler for penitent

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

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Cite this Entry

“Penitent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/penitent. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for penitent

penitent

adjective
How to pronounce penitent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of penitent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : feeling or showing sorrow and regret because you have done something wrong

penitent

noun

English Language Learners Definition of penitent (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : a person who is sorry for doing something wrong and asks for forgiveness : a penitent person

penitent

adjective
pen·​i·​tent | \ ˈpe-nə-tənt How to pronounce penitent (audio) \

Kids Definition of penitent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: feeling or showing sadness for a person's own sins or faults

penitent

noun

Kids Definition of penitent (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who feels or shows sorrow for sins or faults

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Nglish: Translation of penitent for Spanish Speakers

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