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

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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 For both Kaepernick and Harbaugh, the downfall was gradual, painful and filled with bitter remorse. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "History of the 49ers," 30 Jan. 2020 Lawyers for the defense argued that this was simply a case of seller's remorse. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Judge awards women $13 million in massive lawsuit against GirlsDoPorn," 4 Jan. 2020 Until Penelope shows remorse, maybe, which will probably be never. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Riverdale" Might Have Finally Revealed Who Appears to Have Killed Jughead," 12 Dec. 2019 Though Little has begun to show some remorse, the serial killer seemed gleeful in recounting his slayings. Los Angeles Times, "A Texas Ranger got a prolific serial killer to talk. This is how," 26 Sep. 2019 The remorse, the sadness, the county’s deeply saddened by this. Htv National Desk, Houston Chronicle, "Family outraged after their dog is mistakenly euthanized at animal shelter," 16 June 2019 In addition to Donovan’s apology on television, UBS also expressed its remorse. Benjamin Robertson,, "Furor builds over UBS official’s ‘insensitive’ remark about China," 13 June 2019 Jenkins was cut by the New York Giants last week after using an offensive term in an exchange with a fan on social media and his subsequent lack of remorse. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Week 16 NFL Picks: Packers travel to Minnesota with chance to clinch NFC North," 21 Dec. 2019 Bader died when Ginsburg was in high school, and advised her daughter to not waste time on useless emotions like anger, resentment, remorse and envy. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "'Tonight, I'm feeling fine': Ruth Bader Ginsburg talks optimism for future, Greta Thunberg," 18 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for remorse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for remorse

Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Remorse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for remorse


How to pronounce remorse (audio)

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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on remorse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for remorse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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