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

The history is either disputed or ignored, the acts of repentance either entirely private or disingenuous, and justice forever delayed. Christian Wiman, WSJ, "‘A Primer for Forgetting’ Review: The Past Need Not Be Prologue," 21 June 2019 Even in the best American thrillers, there are scenes of spousal repentance that are hard to bear, especially when the children intervene. John Cullen, Harper's magazine, "Donald Trump Is a Good President," 10 Jan. 2019 The Jay report concluded that, by and large, the church hierarchy had systematically defended and protected its offending priests, treating their offenses as sins that demanded repentance and forgiveness rather than criminal prosecution. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Scathing report reveals 300 Pennsylvania Catholic priests sexually abused over 1,000 children," 19 Oct. 2018 Christians often fast and pray in repentance, leading up to their celebration of the Resurrection of Christ on Easter. Greg Garrison,, "Ash Wednesday kicks off Lenten lunches, preaching at Advent Cathedral," 14 Feb. 2018 When the outlaw vanishes, then returns years later as a humble stranger quietly performing acts of repentance, a confrontation ensues, illuminating the murky fog of real-world forgiveness. Marisha Pessl, New York Times, "Screams. Tears. Meltdowns. New Picture Books Let Bad Behavior Fly, With Just a Bit of Advice," 6 June 2018 For having denied me anesthesia during the operation, for having added to my suffering, my father made a meagre gesture of repentance. Lu Yang, The New Yorker, "Silver Tiger," 4 June 2017 Imagining a tyrant’s sincere repentance, as Shakespeare did in The Winter’s Tale, Greenblatt claims, is almost as difficult as imagining a statue coming to life. Glenn C. Althschuler,, "'Tyrant' by Stephen Greenblatt: Shakespeare's ideas on tyranny and resistance," 18 May 2018 Martinez said that his life's mission now entails taking God's message of repentance to youth and others at schools, jails and on the streets. Theo Karantsalis, miamiherald, "Christian film festival honors ex-MMA fighter," 8 May 2018

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

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

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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

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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