re·​pen·​tance | \ ri-ˈpen-tᵊn(t)s How to pronounce repentance (audio) \

Definition of repentance

: the action or process of repenting especially for misdeeds or moral shortcomings

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Choose the Right Synonym for repentance

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

Examples of repentance in a Sentence

preached that repentance was the first step on the path of redemption
Recent Examples on the Web Unlike the festive celebrations of New Year in other faiths, the Jewish New Year is a time of reflection on one’s actions of the past year and sincere repentance for those sins. Dwight Adams, USA TODAY, "Rosh Hashanah 2020: The two-day Jewish celebration starts Friday and leads into Yom Kippur later this month," 18 Sep. 2020 But returning to the subject, repentance shouldn’t be an easy, empty apology. Patrick Crooks, The New Yorker, "Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses, as E-mailed by Your Passive-Aggressive Co-Worker," 14 Nov. 2020 Maybe that can be a small repentance for its past ecological transgressions. Ben Stewart, Popular Mechanics, "The Hummer's 40-Year Journey From Military Hero to Electrified Future Truck," 25 Oct. 2020 After the fall of communism, Solzhenitsyn’s call for repentance, for a historical reckoning on the model of Germany’s post-Nazi Vergangenheitsbewältigung, went unheeded. Ignat Solzhenitsyn, WSJ, "Russia and the Soviet Union: Solzhenitsyn Knew the Difference," 23 Oct. 2020 Rabbi Schultz suggests repentance and atonement, specifically towards Joey and Rachel. Lydia Wang,, "R29 Binge Club: Netflix’s Grand Army Recaps," 19 Oct. 2020 The High Holy Days are a time of prayer, reflection, repentance and atonement. al, "High Holy Days end with Yom Kippur, including service in Birmingham Botanical Gardens," 28 Sep. 2020 In a normal year, the start of a new Jewish calendar cycle and ten days of introspection and repentance feels like a soul-satisfying reunion with fellow congregants, friends, and family. Abigail Pogrebin, Vogue, "The Unexpected Power of a Virtual Jewish New Year," 24 Sep. 2020 Their conception is shorn of any real emphasis on human sinfulness as a universal attribute, or on humility — and with it, the concomitant need for repentance, forgiveness, and mutual accountability. Daniel J. Mahoney, National Review, "The Spirit of Religion and the Spirit of Liberty," 23 Sep. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for repentance

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for repentance

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Repentance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for repentance


re·​pen·​tance | \ ri-ˈpen-tᵊns How to pronounce repentance (audio) \

Kids Definition of repentance

: the action or process of acknowledging regret for having done something wrong

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Comments on repentance

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