penitent

adjective
pen·​i·​tent | \ˈpe-nə-tənt \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from penitent

Adjective

penitently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for penitent

Synonyms: Adjective

apologetic, compunctious, contrite, regretful, remorseful, repentant, rueful, sorry

Antonyms: Adjective

impenitent, remorseless, unapologetic, unrepentant

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of penitent in a Sentence

Adjective

a penitent gossip who had come to ask for forgiveness

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

If, for example, the penitent confesses from behind a screen, how can the confessor know for certain who is confessing? Rob Taylor And, WSJ, "New Laws Require Priests to Break the ‘Seal of Confession’," 3 Aug. 2018 Darrell Larson portrays him, these many years later, as a penitent figure who might just have some heroism inside. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "'The Ballad of Bimini Baths' plunges into L.A. history," 15 June 2018 Facebook executives did a penitent tour through the halls of media and the Capitol, offering apologies and begging for the public’s forgiveness. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Searching for a Future Beyond Facebook," 2 May 2018 Confidential relationships between a priest and a penitent, and a doctor and a patient, and a lawyer and a client. Fox News, "Alan Dershowitz on White House dinner, Cohen raid," 10 Apr. 2018 There’s been nothing penitent or muted about Cousins this year. Nathaniel Friedman, GQ, "Boogie Makes the NBA Better," 30 Jan. 2018 Weinstein’s own version tellingly vacillates in tone from the penitent to the petulant. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "What Harvey Weinstein's Apology Reveals," 5 Oct. 2017 Some people approached the booth with a penitent air. Scott Herhold, The Mercury News, "What happens in the Truth Booth in Palo Alto," 19 Apr. 2017 The sign had a note on it that said, 'Please forgive a penitent thief.''' Bob Warren, NOLA.com, "Mystery of the stolen cigar store sign solved -- sort of," 23 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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. Aaron Favila, chicagotribune.com, "Filipino devotees being nailed to crosses on Good Friday becomes tourist attraction," 30 Mar. 2018 Prior to the crucifixions, dozens of male penitents walked several kilometers (miles) through village streets, beating their bare backs with sharp bamboo sticks and pieces of wood. Washington Post, "Devotees reenact Good Friday crucifixions in Philippines," 30 Mar. 2018 Often the penitents wash up and hastily change back into plain clothes to be able to do it. Text By Gaia Pianigiani, New York Times, "Religious Rite Takes Hamlet Back in Time Every Seven Years," 10 Sep. 2017 The seven days culminate with a Sunday procession, which includes hundreds of self-flagellating, hooded penitents. Text By Gaia Pianigiani, New York Times, "Religious Rite Takes Hamlet Back in Time Every Seven Years," 10 Sep. 2017 Some of the penitents flagellated themselves while walking for hours, beseeching the Madonna to heal them or to cure their sick children. Text By Gaia Pianigiani, New York Times, "Religious Rite Takes Hamlet Back in Time Every Seven Years," 10 Sep. 2017 The door to one bedroom is an antique three-door confessional — center door for the priest, two side doors for penitents. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Pieces of history make this Detroit loft special," 8 July 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about penitent

Statistics for penitent

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for penitent

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for penitent

penitent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of penitent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

penitent

noun

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

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

penitent

adjective
pen·​i·​tent | \ˈpe-nə-tənt \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on penitent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for penitent

Spanish Central: Translation of penitent

Nglish: Translation of penitent for Spanish Speakers

Comments on penitent

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!