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

  • n. The condition or quality of being penitent; regret for wrongdoing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Condition of being penitent.
  • n. Feeling of regret or remorse for doing wrong or sinning.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or condition of being penitent; the disposition of a penitent; sorrow for sins or faults; repentance; contrition.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being penitent; sorrow for having committed sin or for having offended; repentance; contrition.
  • n. Synonyms Contrition, Compunction, etc. See repentance.

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

  • n. remorse for your past conduct


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested circa 13th century, from Middle English penitence, from Old French penitence, from Latin paenitentia ("repentance, penitence"), from paenitēns ("penitent"), present active participle of paeniteō ("regret, repent").


  • The publicity of their penitence is also implied (compare Jer 7: 29; 48: 38).

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • I have written this account in penitence and in grief, as a man who failed to raise his pig, and to explain my deviation from the classic course of so many raised pigs.

    The Animal Kingdom

  • What ... so I should, uh, flagellate myself in penitence?

    Archive 2005-08-01

  • But it does not logically follow that the only way to show penitence is to go stick yourself in a cell.

    The Interesting Thing About Bad Priests

  • But the nutrients of the blood of life spilled in penitence help fortify the Sun to win the battle against the Night.

    Mythology and legends of the Nahua people: part 1

  • May they soon come, in penitence, to pledge eternal fealty to the nation.

    The Curtained Throne

  • I infer that you have come to tell me that the time left me, either for amusement or penitence, is short. "


  • Hers was the kind of penitence which is forced by sheer stress of circumstances on a nature which resents any form of humiliation; she could not abandon herself to unreserved grief for what she had done or omitted, and the sense of this defect made a great part of her affliction.

    New Grub Street

  • We learn this only incidentally from the words: "That kind of penitence which is subsequent to faith, which can either obtain forgiveness from the bishop for lesser sins, or from God only for those which are irremissible" (ib., xviii).

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

  • The penitence is the evidence of the wonder-working ministry of the great Restorer, and the life is becoming soft and gracious again.

    The Silver Lining: Messages of Hope and Cheer


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