re·​morse | \ri-ˈmȯrs \

Definition of remorse 

1 : a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs : self-reproach

2 obsolete : compassion

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Choose the Right Synonym for remorse

penitence, repentance, contrition, compunction, remorse mean regret for sin or wrongdoing. penitence implies sad and humble realization of and regret for one's misdeeds. absolution is dependent upon sincere penitence repentance adds the implication of a resolve to change. repentance accompanied by a complete change of character contrition stresses the sorrowful regret that constitutes true penitence. tearful expressions of contrition compunction implies a painful sting of conscience especially for contemplated wrongdoing. had no compunctions about taking back what is mine remorse suggests prolonged and insistent self-reproach and mental anguish for past wrongs and especially for those whose consequences cannot be remedied. thieves untroubled by feelings of remorse

Did You Know?

In Latin, mordere means "to bite;" thus, remorse is something that "gnaws" at you over and over. In criminal court, judges are always looking for signs that a convicted felon is suffering remorse for his crime; if not, the judge may well lengthen his sentence or deny him parole after serving part of it. Remorse is stronger than mere regret; real remorse is the kind of thing that may last a lifetime.

Examples of remorse in a Sentence

I could forgive him for what he did if he showed some remorse. he felt a deep remorse for having neglected his family over the years

Recent Examples on the Web

Arsenal fan Piers Morgan watched Liverpool's quick demolition of Manchester City in the Champions League quarter finals with bitter remorse., "Arsenal Fan Piers Morgan Rues Liverpool Star's 'Transformation' Under Jurgen Klopp After UCL Stunner," 5 Apr. 2018 Smith understands that nobody wants to spend $4,000 to feel buyer's remorse–and so few customers can afford to. Tyler Joe, Harper's BAZAAR, "Tales in Retail: Introducing Fashion's Chicest New E-Tailer," 13 Dec. 2016 The protesting countries pointed out that Mr. Koufontinas has expressed no remorse for his actions, while Christodoulos Xiros went missing for a year after being granted a few days’ leave from prison in 2014. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Anger Over Old Terrorists Upsets New Friendship Between Greece, U.S.," 6 Nov. 2018 Prep with Pinterest Avoid buyer's remorse by taking some snaps of your home and uploading them to Pinterest or another photo hosting service. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Buy a Souvenir You Won't Regret," 19 Sep. 2018 But Elon Musk has had a serious case of seller's remorse ever since. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "There’s a big problem with Elon Musk’s plan to take Tesla private," 9 Aug. 2018 In the 14 years since Young killed Patel, Young has grown into a mature and caring man who feels great remorse for the murder, Young’s friends and family say. Emilie Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "As activists gather, court denies request to halt San Antonio man’s execution," 10 July 2018 They and many of the supporting characters are complex and compelling - neither all good nor all bad, capable of both cruelty and kindness, vengeance and remorse. Steve Israel,, "What's the greatest book about politics? Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and others weigh in.," 12 July 2018 Kylie Jenner isn’t the only person with lip-filler remorse. Brittany Talarico,, "Farrah Abraham Removes Her Lip Fillers 3 Days After Kylie Jenner Reveals Her Natural Lips," 12 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for remorse

Middle English, from Anglo-French remors, from Medieval Latin remorsus, from Late Latin, act of biting again, from Latin remordēre to bite again, from re- + mordēre to bite — more at mordant

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Statistics for remorse

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for remorse

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

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More Definitions for remorse



English Language Learners Definition of remorse

: a feeling of being sorry for doing something bad or wrong in the past : a feeling of guilt


re·​morse | \ri-ˈmȯrs \

Kids Definition of remorse

: deep regret for doing or saying something wrong She felt a pang of remorse after yelling.

Other Words from remorse

remorseful \-​fəl \ adjective
remorseless \-​ləs \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on remorse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with remorse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for remorse

Spanish Central: Translation of remorse

Nglish: Translation of remorse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of remorse for Arabic Speakers

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to enclose within walls

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