re·​gret | \ ri-ˈgret How to pronounce regret (audio) \
regretted; regretting

Definition of regret

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to mourn the loss or death of
b : to miss very much
2 : to be very sorry for regrets his mistakes

intransitive verb

: to experience regret



Definition of regret (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one's control or power to repair
2a : an expression of distressing emotion (such as sorrow)
b regrets plural : a note politely declining an invitation

Other Words from regret


regretter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for regret


sorrow, grief, anguish, woe, regret mean distress of mind. sorrow implies a sense of loss or a sense of guilt and remorse. a family united in sorrow upon the patriarch's death grief implies poignant sorrow for an immediate cause. the inexpressible grief of the bereaved parents anguish suggests torturing grief or dread. the anguish felt by the parents of the kidnapped child woe is deep or inconsolable grief or misery. cries of woe echoed throughout the bombed city regret implies pain caused by deep disappointment, fruitless longing, or unavailing remorse. nagging regret for missed opportunities

Examples of regret in a Sentence

Verb Don't say anything you might regret later. I deeply regret what I said. She does not regret leaving him. He regrets not traveling more when he was younger. He says he doesn't regret anything that he's done in his life. Noun She has no regrets about leaving him. My greatest regret is not going to college. To my regret, I never visited Europe. It is with deep regret that he is announcing his resignation. My coworker gives her regrets for not being able to attend the meeting. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The majority of women who have abortions express relief as opposed to regret. Alexandra Zayas, ProPublica, 5 May 2022 While Supreme Court justices have claimed in the past that people regret abortions, actual research says that’s not true. Glamour, 5 May 2022 Be prepared to regret what seemed like such an easy and small decision back then. Tom Rasmussen, Vogue, 4 May 2022 Several teams passed on Udoka over the past few years and likely regret it. Gary Washburn,, 30 Apr. 2022 Yet even as workers across industries are leaving in droves, Bush points out that many of those surveyed regret their choice. Kristine Gill, Fortune, 27 Apr. 2022 Thanks to the Great Resignation, there may be a lot more retirees who regret leaving the workforce. Beth Decarbo, WSJ, 16 Apr. 2022 But a new study finds the rejoicing may turn to regret after the home’s completion. Jeffrey Steele, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Although the offer sounds like a good time, try to remember times in the past where similar setups led to regret. Tarot Astrologers,, 10 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some songs spark the regret of failing to book the ideal dinner reservation. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 20 May 2022 My father always lived with the regret of not vaccinating his daughter. Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Partly driving the regret, recruiters say, is that people’s expectations of potential employers have rarely been higher: Candidates are requesting flexibility in their jobs, the highest possible salaries and quick decisions from companies. Kathryn Dill, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 Why is the slogan so favored, when regret is a useful emotion? Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2022 The 6-11 big man said his only regret was not being there for his teammates, who still pulled off a dramatic 121-117 overtime victory against the Warriors. James Boyd, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Jan. 2022 His only regret was that Juanita wasn’t there to see it, or his 4 1/2-sack outburst. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, 28 Sep. 2021 Bernard adds thats his only regret was not being able to give his new star even more to do. Derek Lawrence,, 13 Sep. 2021 Cantwell says he still gets recognized for his line at drag performances, and his only regret is that Luketic cut down the scene considerably. Jake Kring-schreifels, Vulture, 8 July 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'regret.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of regret


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for regret


Middle English regretten, from Anglo-French regreter, from re- + -greter (perhaps of Germanic origin; akin to Old Norse grāta to weep) — more at greet

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

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Regret.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for regret


re·​gret | \ ri-ˈgret How to pronounce regret (audio) \
regretted; regretting

Kids Definition of regret

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to be sorry for She regrets her rash decision. "… very common and ill-mannered they are, I regret to say."— Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach



Kids Definition of regret (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : sadness or disappointment caused especially by something beyond a person's control I recall my harsh words with much regret.
2 : an expression of sorrow or disappointment
3 regrets plural : a note politely refusing to accept an invitation I send my regrets.

More from Merriam-Webster on regret

Nglish: Translation of regret for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of regret for Arabic Speakers


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