Synonym Chooser

How is the word contrition distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of contrition are compunction, penitence, remorse, and repentance. While all these words mean "regret for sin or wrongdoing," contrition stresses the sorrowful regret that constitutes true penitence.

tearful expressions of contrition

When might compunction be a better fit than contrition?

The synonyms compunction and contrition are sometimes interchangeable, but compunction implies a painful sting of conscience especially for contemplated wrongdoing.

had no compunctions about taking back what is mine

When would penitence be a good substitute for contrition?

The meanings of penitence and contrition largely overlap; however, penitence implies sad and humble realization of and regret for one's misdeeds.

absolution is dependent upon sincere penitence

When is remorse a more appropriate choice than contrition?

The words remorse and contrition can be used in similar contexts, but 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

When is it sensible to use repentance instead of contrition?

In some situations, the words repentance and contrition are roughly equivalent. However, repentance adds the implication of a resolve to change.

repentance accompanied by a complete change of character

Thesaurus Entries Near contrition

Cite this Entry

“Contrition.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on contrition

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