SYNONYMY NOTE: penitence implies sorrow over having sinned or done wrong; , repentance implies full realization of one's sins or wrongs and a will to change one's ways;
, contrition implies a deep, crushing sorrow for one's sins, with a true purpose of amendment;
, compunction implies a pricking of the conscience and therefore suggests a sharp but passing feeling
of uneasiness about wrongdoing; , remorse implies a deep and torturing sense of guilt; , regret may refer to sorrow over any unfortunate occurrence as well as over a fault or act
of one's own
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Word origin of 'penitence'OFr < L paenitentia