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

Definition of repent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
2a : to feel regret or contrition
b : to change one's mind

transitive verb

1 : to cause to feel regret or contrition
2 : to feel sorrow, regret, or contrition for


re·​pent | \ ˈrē-pənt How to pronounce repent (audio) \

Definition of repent (Entry 2 of 2)

: creeping, prostrate repent stems

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Other Words from repent


repenter noun

Synonyms for repent

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pet owners in southern Palm Beach County whose pets have been naughty can repent. Austen Erblat,, "Annual Blessing of the Animals to leave minister ‘smelling so awful, but feeling so good’," 20 Sep. 2019 Catholics who have committed grave sins are supposed to repent, and receive the sacrament of reconciliation, before presenting themselves for communion. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 7 Nov. 2019 In the second act, Giovanni, having failed to repent after being warned time and time again, is dragged to hell. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "What’s Inside Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book?," 22 July 2019 Kylo was more interested in power than in repenting for his sins (killing his father, Han Solo, key among them). Eliana Dockterman, Time, "The Biggest Questions Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Needs to Answer," 23 Nov. 2019 Some institutions have already taken measures to repent for ties to slavery: Seminaries in New Jersey and Virginia have pledged millions of dollars in reparations to the descendants of slaves who worked on their campuses. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Nearly 75% of African Americans support reparations for slavery. Only 15% of white Americans do, a poll says," 28 Oct. 2019 New Jersey Princeton: Princeton Theological Seminary will provide scholarships and set up doctoral fellowships to repent for having benefited from slavery. USA TODAY, "Baby elephant, cougars, dognapper, burning treehouse: News from around our 50 states," 24 Oct. 2019 During this 24-hour period, 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, "Dear Abby: Husband brings random homeless person home without first asking his wife," 8 Oct. 2019 Only by confessing his privilege and repenting for his beliefs would Kavanaugh gain absolution and relief. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Kavanaugh and the Crisis of Legitimacy," 21 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'repent.' 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 repent


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


1669, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for repent


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

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Time Traveler for repent

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for repent

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Repent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for repent


How to pronounce repent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of repent

formal : to feel or show that you are sorry for something bad or wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right


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

Kids Definition of repent

: to acknowledge regret for having done something wrong Repent. Say that you are sorry …”— Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for repent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with repent

Spanish Central: Translation of repent

Nglish: Translation of repent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of repent for Arabic Speakers

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