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 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 Harris has famously repented of his past legalism, and that makes his departure from the faith particularly poignant. David French, National Review, "Whither Evangelical Purity Culture? Thoughts on the Legacy of a Lost Pastor," 29 July 2019 Unfortunately, people monstrous enough to troll a grieving family are unlikely to repent after such a plea. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Trolling of Shanann Watts’ family exposes the other dark web," 25 July 2019 So much so that Benchley spent the last decades of his life, and a good deal of the fortune that Jaws delivered to him, trying to repent for the ferociously effective way his fictional story demonized great whites for the rest of us. Neil Swidey,, "We’re afraid of sharks. But maybe we’re not afraid enough.," 9 July 2019 The industry, brought low by #MeToo scandals, was scrambling to repent for the systemic predation of women and the exclusion of people of color. New York Times, "Inclusion Rider? What Inclusion Rider?," 19 June 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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Statistics for repent

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for repent

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on repent

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

Comments on repent

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


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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