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 The judges ruled Doherty does not have a substance abuse problem, an emotional disorder, a psychological disorder and has shown remorse. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Portage County judge won’t lose law license after drunken-driving crash, Ohio Supreme Court says," 14 Apr. 2020 Prosecutors had asked to order him to spend 46 to 57 months, while Collins had urged the judge to impose a sentence of probation, citing his age, charitable works and remorse. Chris Dolmetsch,, "Ex-Congressman Collins Gets 26 Months for Insider Trading," 10 May 2020 Of course, spending power doesn't always translate to on-field improvement, and several of the richest deals eventually leave teams with buyer's remorse. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "10 most questionable signing of NFL free agency: Jets, Jaguars among teams with confounding moves," 24 Mar. 2020 The evidence presented by my office proved that Greg Wynn is an individual without empathy or remorse, someone who has not even begun the process of rehabilitation after spending two decades in prison. Carol Robinson |, al, "Convicted killer resentenced to life without parole after dodging death penalty," 28 Feb. 2020 Milwaukee ultimately dealt him at the 2018 trade deadline for Jonathan Schoop, a swap that came with some buyer's remorse when Schoop struggled and Villar fared OK for Baltimore. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The roster moves of 2015 have laid the groundwork for Milwaukee Brewers," 27 Feb. 2020 More: Ex-LMPD officers in overtime scheme avoid prison time and instead get probation All got probation instead of prison time, and expressed through their lawyers at sentencing remorse for their actions. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "2 Indiana police officers charged in ghost employment scheme," 23 Feb. 2020 Some hold out, whether out of a personal sensibility or an understandable case of buyer’s remorse. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "Why did I fall for ‘Love Is Blind’? Because Netflix is really good at making reality TV.," 14 Feb. 2020 Judge James Cramer said Almena had not shown enough remorse to merit the plea bargain. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, "Life after Ghost Ship," 7 Feb. 2020

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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Remorse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 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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