noun re·morse \ri-ˈmȯrs\

Definition of remorse

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

  2. 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>

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

First Known Use: 14th century

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


noun re·morse \ri-ˈmȯrs\

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

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


\-fəl\ adjective


\-ləs\ adjective

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up remorse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to strike by flicking the finger outward

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