atone

verb
\ ə-ˈtōn How to pronounce atone (audio) \
atoned; atoning

Definition of atone

intransitive verb

: to make amends : to provide or serve as reparation or compensation for something bad or unwelcome usually + for He wanted to atone for his sins.But I think that he has within him a capacity for love, and an unselfishness, which almost atones for his dishonesty.— Anthony Trollope

transitive verb

1 : to make reparation or supply satisfaction for : expiate used in the passive voice with for a crime that must be atoned for
2 obsolete : reconcile

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Synonyms for atone

Synonyms

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Did you know?

Atone comes to us from the combination in Middle English of at and on, the latter of which is an old variant of one. Together they meant "in harmony." (In current English, we use at one with a similar suggestion of harmony in such phrases as "at one with nature.") When it first entered English, atone meant "to reconcile and suggested the restoration of a peaceful and harmonious state between people or groups." These days the verb specifically implies addressing the damage (or disharmony) caused by one's own behavior.

Examples of atone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Now that unit has to face Patrick Mahomes with the Chiefs quarterback eager to atone for his recent mistakes. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 17 Oct. 2021 So on Tuesday, Williams had everyone on USC’s practice field — down to chief of staff Brandon Sosna — run 12 sprints to atone. Ryan Kartje Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 9 Oct. 2021 However, the organization maintains that a truth commission — in the style of those in many countries that have sought to atone for their past — is needed to move forward, one that includes support for survivors and their descendants. Julia Barajas, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Aug. 2021 The next step is staying healthy and each upgrading their games to atone for last season. BostonGlobe.com, 29 Sep. 2021 Detroit, like many other cities across the nation, is studying how best to atone for its racist past, part of a movement that has centered on the toll from slavery but has expanded to more local offenses. New York Times, 25 Sep. 2021 However, the organization maintains that a truth commission — in the style of those in many countries that have sought to atone for their past — is needed to move forward, one that includes support for survivors and their descendants. Julia Barajas, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Aug. 2021 However, the organization maintains that a truth commission — in the style of those in many countries that have sought to atone for their past — is needed to move forward, one that includes support for survivors and their descendants. Julia Barajas, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Aug. 2021 Cassie loves to party but dies in a freak accident and must atone for her wrongs on earth to earn her wings. Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2021

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

1574, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for atone

Middle English, to become reconciled, from at on in harmony, from at + on one

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Dictionary Entries Near atone

atonal

atone

at one's age

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Statistics for atone

Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Atone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atone. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for atone

atone

verb

English Language Learners Definition of atone

: to do something good as a way to show that you are sorry about doing something bad

atone

verb
\ ə-ˈtōn How to pronounce atone (audio) \
atoned; atoning

Kids Definition of atone

: to do something to make up for a wrong … her grandmother watched over her with untiring devotion, as if trying to atone for some past mistake …— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

More from Merriam-Webster on atone

Britannica English: Translation of atone for Arabic Speakers

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