pen·​i·​ten·​tial | \ ˌpe-nə-ˈten(t)-shəl How to pronounce penitential (audio) \

Definition of penitential

: of or relating to penitence or penance

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Other Words from penitential

penitentially \ ˌpe-​nə-​ˈten(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce penitentially (audio) \ adverb

Examples of penitential in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By rare coincidence the first service of selichot, the penitential prayers recited for a month in the run up to the High Holidays, began on the first day of the solemn month of Muharram. The Economist, "Trapped in Iran," 28 Jan. 2020 This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within. Paul Schemm, The Seattle Times, "Read the pope’s letter to the faithful on abuse in the Catholic Church," 20 Aug. 2018 McCarrick is currently facing an internal, ecclesiastical trial, and has been ordered by the Vatican to remain in penitential seclusion until that time. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Ex-Vatican official accuses Pope Francis of covering up McCarrick’s sex abuse," 26 Aug. 2018 His answer helped us have a frank discussion about sin in the Catholic Church, the human need for penitential disciplines and devotions, and God’s way of helping man triumph over the wickedness of the Devil. C.c. Pecknold, WSJ, "The Catholic Bishops Who Failed Us All," 16 Aug. 2018 Sitting through the longueurs of Simon’s book shouldn’t have to be the penitential price for our enjoyment of the musical portion of the show. Charles Mcnulty,, "'Sweet Charity' from Reprise: The dancing never gets old, but the book could use a nip and tuck," 23 June 2018 The 40-day penitential period of Lent helps Christians prepare to appreciate the joy of Easter. Greg Garrison,, "Alabama Bishop: 'I don't like Lent'," 14 Feb. 2018 Graf said, referring to the definition of penitential communication under state law. Dana Littlefield,, "Do members of the clergy have to report abuse? Yes and no," 29 Apr. 2017 This disciplinary practice of abstaining from meat on the Fridays in Lent is an important dimension of the penitential nature of the season. Craig Lazzeretti, The Mercury News, "Corned beef on Friday during Lent? Oakland bishop says yes on St. Patty’s Day," 8 Mar. 2017

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of penitential was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Penitential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce penitential (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of penitential

formal : relating to the feeling of being sorry for doing something wrong : relating to penitence or penance

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