from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of a Roman Catholic brotherhood in parts of the Southwest, of Native American and Hispanic origin, that celebrates the Passion with rites involving fasting and self-flagellation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A penitent, especially in the ecclesiastical sense; specifically, one of a group of flagellants in New Mexico, who are said to submit themselves to crucifixion.


Spanish, from Latin paenitēns, paenitent-, penitent; see penitent.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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