Definitions

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

  • adj. Feeling or expressing remorse for one's misdeeds or sins.
  • n. One who is penitent.
  • n. A person performing penance under the direction of a confessor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Feeling pain or sorrow on account of sins or offenses; repentant; contrite; sincerely affected by a sense of guilt, and resolved on amendment of life.
  • adj. Doing penance.
  • n. One who repents of sin; one sorrowful on account of his or her transgressions.
  • n. One under church censure, but admitted to penance; one undergoing penance.
  • n. One under the direction of a confessor.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Feeling pain or sorrow on account of sins or offenses; repentant; contrite; sincerely affected by a sense of guilt, and resolved on amendment of life.
  • adj. Doing penance.
  • n. One who repents of sin; one sorrowful on account of his transgressions.
  • n. One under church censure, but admitted to penance; one undergoing penance.
  • n. One under the direction of a confessor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sorry for sin or for offense committed; contrite; troubled by a sense of guilt and resolved on amendment; repentant.
  • Doing penance; suffering.
  • n. One who repents, or is sorry for sin, transgression, or offending; a contrite or repentant person.
  • n. Eccles., one who makes confession of sin and undergoes, under priestly direction, the ecclesiastical discipline prescribed for its absolution.

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

  • adj. feeling or expressing remorse for misdeeds
  • n. (Roman Catholic Church) a person who repents for wrongdoing (a Roman Catholic may be admitted to penance under the direction of a confessor)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin pēnitēns, pēnitent-, from Latin paenitēns, present participle of paenitēre, to repent.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin paenitens, poenitens ("penitent"), present participle of Latin paenitere, poenitere ("to cause to repent, intrans. repent, regret"). (Wiktionary)

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