re·​morse | \ ri-ˈmȯrs How to pronounce remorse (audio) \

Definition of remorse

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

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 While on the witness stand Thursday, Martina expressed almost no remorse for the attack, for which he was accused of using at least six weapons to beat Andre after accusing him of stealing money. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 May 2022 Kinder, the book’s editor, organized the collection around such themes as gratitude, wonder, chemistry, remorse and farewell. Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2022 Some of them are feeling the job-market equivalent of buyer’s remorse. Kathryn Dill, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 Understandably, many of them have suffered from quitter's remorse. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 But every performance is a treasure, nearly every piece of comic business is a delight and every undercurrent of sadness and remorse is earned. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Apr. 2022 But even some winners of the competition have buyer’s remorse. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 11 Apr. 2022 When detectives left him alone, Jordan paced the room and expressed disbelief about the situation, remorse for his drinking and fear of retribution. Alex Mann, Baltimore Sun, 29 Mar. 2022 There are people who seem to have nothing to lose, who will kill others without a second thought or a hint of remorse. Paul Callan, CNN, 14 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Remorse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for remorse


re·​morse | \ ri-ˈmȯrs How to pronounce remorse (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on remorse

Nglish: Translation of remorse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of remorse for Arabic Speakers


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