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 penitential (audio) \ adverb

Examples of penitential in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There is no Kingdom of God without the penitential turn of the soul to the grace and goodness of God. Daniel J. Mahoney, National Review, "Pope Francis, Wayward Shepherd," 6 Feb. 2020 Francis had been scheduled to go to the St. John Lateran basilica across town to meet with Rome clergy and celebrate a penitential Mass at the start of Lent., "Pope cancels visit with Rome priests for ‘slight’ illness," 27 Feb. 2020 The penitential practice is derived from Jesus Christ's 40-day fast in the desert and is intended to help the faithful prepare their minds and bodies for Easter. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Spirit of the law: Christians debate eating ‘Impossible Burger’ on meatless Lenten Fridays," 26 Feb. 2020 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

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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Cite this Entry

“Penitential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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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