from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. remorse, ayenbite, often used as a conscious archaism


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Modern spelling of ayenbite reflecting Old English agēn ("again, eft, back").


  • Anyway, the most obvious distinction is that the sociopath would presumably remove the implant if he could, while most of us would not want to anaesthetise the agenbite of inwit, if this were somehow possible.

    Not Lovely, Lovely Ludwig Van!

  • The Weekly Standard talks poetry today, rolling words on its tongue with a languid, liquid verbosity -- viva la agenbite!

    The WritingYA Weblog: An Agreeable Destruction

  • Some of it is maybe "agenbite of inwit," the Middle English phrase meaning remorse of conscience.

    Rectitude Chic

  • His subsequent interest in Shintoism and Buddhism lacks the mordancy and introspection (the "agenbite of inwit," as Joyce liked to put it) of his earlier hermeneutic investigations.

    The Immortal

  • His refusal to take part in the family's prayers for her seems to have stimulated that remorse of conscience, that "agenbite of inwit" which reechoes through Ulysses.

    James Joyce

  • Those machines have faded in power, but the Irish have remained a major presence, with about 37 million Americans claiming some degree of Irish descent and tens of millions more claiming some form of social kinship, even if it is just an agenbite of inwit. - News


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  • "The Weekly Standard" moved the writ to: here

    November 28, 2011

  • I really like that. Thanks, frindley.

    November 14, 2008

  • Joseph Bottum has found a new function for this word. An extract:

    "Let's coin a term for this kind of poetic, extralogical accuracy. Let's call it agenbite. That's a word Michael of Northgate cobbled up for his 1340 Remorse of Conscience — or Agenbite of Inwit, as he actually titled the book. English would later settle on the French-born word "remorse" to carry the sense of the Latin re-mordere, "to bite again." But Michael didn't know that at the time, and so he simply translated the word's parts: again-bite or (in the muddle of early English spelling) agenbite.

    "Anyway, these words that sound true need some kind of name. And since they do bite back on themselves, like a snake swallowing its tail, Michael's term will do as well as any other. Ethereal is an agenbite, isn't it? All ethereal and airy. Rapier, swashbuckler, erstwhile, obfuscate, spume — agenbites, every one. Reverberation reverberates, and jingle jingles. A friend insists that machination is a word that tells you all about its Machiavellian self, and surely sporadic is a clean agenbite, with something patchy and intermittent in the taste as you say it."

    May 18, 2008

  • A Middle English term meaning "remorse", usually used in the phrase "agenbite of inwit", remourse of conscience. Shows up frequently in Joyce's Ulysses.

    December 10, 2006