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re·​pent ri-ˈpent How to pronounce repent (audio)
repented; repenting; repents

intransitive verb

: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
: to feel regret or contrition
: to change one's mind

transitive verb

: to cause to feel regret or contrition
: to feel sorrow, regret, or contrition for
repenter noun


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re·​pent ˈrē-pənt How to pronounce repent (audio)
: creeping, prostrate
repent stems

Examples of repent in a Sentence

Verb The preacher told us that we would be forgiven for our sins if we repented. criminals who have repented for their crimes The preacher told us that we would be forgiven if we repented our sins.
Recent Examples on the Web
Outsiders, strivers: New museum presents complex story of D.C. region’s Jews Judaism teaches that the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (which this year starts the night of Sept. 24) are Jews’ window to repent before God’s judgment is sealed for the year that is ending. Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2023 In order to be sealed in the Book of Life for the new year, those of Jewish faith must repent and atone for their sins by fasting for roughly 27 hours—a Yom Kippur tradition. Heather Mayer Irvine, Country Living, 7 Sep. 2023 Barry has the chance to repent, in the scene with Sally at the hotel, and doesn’t. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 29 May 2023 Though several are able to overcome the test by repenting for their sins, such as Eagan (Ali Lopez-Sohaili), Adrian (Jared Grimes) and Saanvi, others are not so lucky, like Angelina and the rest of her followers. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 2 June 2023 He's spent much of that time hiding in Israel, supposedly repenting for his sins, and returns to Los Angeles in an attempt to halt production on a movie about Barry's misdeeds. Devan Coggan,, 26 May 2023 Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president and a senior security official in President Vladimir Putin’s administration, said Saturday that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida should perform a ritualistic suicide by disembowelment to repent for what Medvedev called servitude to the United States. Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2023 During this 24-hour period, observant Jewish people fast, engage in reflection and prayer, and formally repent for any sin that might have been committed during the previous Hebrew year. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 4 Oct. 2022 Reparations programs vary and can include activities as varied as investments in neighborhoods and in the businesses of disadvantaged peoples, scholarships, direct disbursements, and relational and spiritual work meant explicitly to acknowledge wrongdoing and unfairness and to repent. Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'repent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French repentir, from Medieval Latin repoenitēre, from Latin re- + Late Latin poenitēre to feel regret, alteration of Latin paenitēre — more at penitent


Latin repent-, repens, present participle of repere to creep — more at reptile

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1669, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of repent was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near repent

Cite this Entry

“Repent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to feel sorrow for one's sin and make up one's mind to do what is right
: to feel sorry for or dissatisfied with something one has done : regret
repenter noun

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