from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A strong uneasiness caused by a sense of guilt. See Synonyms at penitence.
- n. A sting of conscience or a pang of doubt aroused by wrongdoing or the prospect of wrongdoing. See Synonyms at qualm.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A pricking of conscience or a feeling of regret, especially one which is slight or fleeting.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A pricking; stimulation.
- n. A picking of heart; poignant grief proceeding from a sense of guilt or consciousness of causing pain; the sting of conscience.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A pricking; stimulation; irritation.
- n. The stinging or pricking of the conscience; uneasiness caused by tenderness of conscience or feelings; regret, as for wrong-doing or for giving pain to another; contrition; remorse.
- n. Synonyms Regret, Remorse, etc. See penitence.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a feeling of deep regret (usually for some misdeed)
Middle English compunccioun, from Old French componction, from Late Latin compūnctiō, compūnctiōn-, puncture, sting of conscience, from Latin compūnctus, past participle of compungere, to sting : com-, intensive pref.; see com- + pungere, to prick; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French, derived from Late Latin, compunctionem (a pricking), from Latin compunctus, the past participle of compungere (to severely prick), from com- + pungere (to prick). (Wiktionary)