Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Sincere remorse for wrongdoing; repentance. synonym: penitence.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of grinding or rubbing to powder; attrition.
  • noun Brokenness of spirit for having given offense; deep sorrow for sin or guilt; pious compunction; sincere penitence.
  • noun Synonyms Penitence, Compunction, etc. See repentance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete The act of grinding or ribbing to powder; attrition; friction; rubbing.
  • noun The state of being contrite; deep sorrow and repentance for sin, because sin is displeasing to God; humble penitence; through repentance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The state of being contrite; sincere penitence or remorse.
  • noun The act of grinding or rubbing to powder; attrition; friction; rubbing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Ultimately from Latin contritio.

Examples

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  • ‘Do I see a Penitent, or a Criminal?’ She said at length; ‘Are those hands raised in contrition for your crimes, or in fear of meeting their punishment? Do those tears acknowledge the justice of your doom, or only solicit mitigation of your sufferings? I fear me, ’tis the latter!’

    -The Prioress in Lewis' The Monk

    February 9, 2008

  • 'Lots of hot water, Mrs Malaprop. Her contritions are feeling more intense.'

    July 24, 2008