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

  • n. Sincere remorse for wrongdoing; repentance. See Synonyms at penitence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

  • n. sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation


Ultimately from Latin contritio. (Wiktionary)



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

    July 24, 2008

  • ‘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