- to make amends or reparation, as for an offense or a crime, or for an offender (usually followed by for): to atone for one's sins.
- to make up, as for errors or deficiencies (usually followed by for): to atone for one's failings.
- Obsolete. to become reconciled; agree.
- to make amends for; expiate: He atoned his sins.
- Obsolete. to bring into unity, harmony, concord, etc.
Origin of atone
First recorded in 1545–55; back formation from atonement
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for atone
You must atone, apologize, and beg forgiveness for the thousands of LGBT lives you have taken.Do LGBTs Owe Christians an Olive Branch? Try The Other Way Around
December 14, 2014
Heracles goes on his twelve labours, not to better mankind, but to achieve immortality and atone for his own sins.The Walking Dead’s Luke Skywalker: Rick Grimes Is the Perfect Modern-Day Mythical Hero
October 28, 2014
We all have a collective responsibility to atone for the actions of the U.S. and Israel in the coming weeks.Jews and Non-Jews Need to Repent for the Sins of the U.S. and Israel
Rabbi Michael Lerner
September 24, 2014
These “outsiders” are being invited to atone for their sins by leaving the new state.India’s Newest State Telangana Is Bosnia Redux
March 22, 2014
I wondered how many centuries of purgatory it would take to atone for such a sin.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show
Robert W. Chambers
February 20, 2014
It is a delight to atone for a fault by obeying your commands.In the Midst of Alarms
Torquemada could not have done better; but Khalid, it is hoped, will yet atone for his crimes.The Book of Khalid
If he had erred, let him at least atone for his error with his blood!The Downfall
It was a penance she had imposed upon herself to atone for her guilt.Tales From Two Hemispheres
Hjalmar Hjorth Boysen
ANN remains, as if carved in atone, her eyes fastened on the strangers.The Pigeon (Third Series Plays)
- (intr foll by for) to make amends or reparation (for a crime, sin, etc)
- (tr) to expiateto atone a guilt with repentance
- obsolete to be in or bring into agreement
C16: back formation from atonement
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for atone
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper