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

Judges handling the cases look to see whether the applicant has proved to have been rehabilitated, has taken educational or vocational classes, and has shown remorse and stayed out of trouble behind bars. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, "With a letter of support from Kim Kardashian-West, D.C. man convicted of murder as a teen gets a second chance," 13 Sep. 2019 But from police reports there also wasn’t any remorse from the driver. Patricia Callahan, ProPublica, "His Mother Was Killed by a Van Making Amazon Deliveries. Here’s the Letter He Wrote to Jeff Bezos.," 5 Sep. 2019 Wavee Dave showed no remorse after the incident, but his actions may have led to a downward spiral for his beloved Tigers. Chuck Schilken, Los Angeles Times, "Way to go, Wavee Dave. Jackson State mascot draws penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct," 2 Sep. 2019 With that immense wealth should come real responsibility—not token remorse. Paul Gross, The New Republic, "Those Profiting off the Vaping Epidemic Should Pay to Stop It," 13 Aug. 2019 There are psychiatric conditions that may include anger, aggression, impulsivity, violence, or lack of remorse or empathy among their symptoms. Arash Javanbakht, The Conversation, "Can experts determine who might be a mass killer? 3 questions answered," 8 Aug. 2019 Both Floyds showed remorse during their hearings and said their debilitating addictions to heroin fueled their crimes. Diana Kruzman,, "Couple sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for string of Portland-area robberies," 19 July 2019 Despite expressing remorse over joining the terror group, Letts, 24, is now believed to have had his British citizenship revoked, sparking a diplomatic row with Canada. Matthew Robinson, CNN, "ISIS suspect 'Jihadi Jack' has been stripped of his UK citizenship, officials say," 18 Aug. 2019 The remorse is specifically over t-shirts with designs suggesting regions including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are independent territories, rather than part of China. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "Why fashion brands are rushing to apologize in China," 12 Aug. 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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Statistics for remorse

Last Updated

19 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for remorse

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

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More Definitions for remorse



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with remorse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for remorse

Spanish Central: Translation of remorse

Nglish: Translation of remorse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of remorse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on remorse

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


to spread over or through

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