noun re·morse \ ri-ˈmȯrs \
|Updated on: 8 Aug 2018

Definition of remorse

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

Examples of remorse in a Sentence

  1. I could forgive him for what he did if he showed some remorse.

  2. he felt a deep remorse for having neglected his family over the years

Recent Examples of remorse from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

REMORSE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of remorse for English Language Learners

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

REMORSE Defined for Kids


noun re·morse \ ri-ˈmȯrs \

Definition of remorse for Students

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


\-fəl\ adjective


\-ləs\ adjective

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fullness to the point of excess

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