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[uh-tohn] /əˈtoʊn/
verb (used without object), atoned, atoning.
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.
verb (used with object), atoned, atoning.
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
Related forms
atonable, atoneable, adjective
atoner, noun
atoningly, adverb
unatoned, adjective
unatoning, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for atoned
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If you knew how in denying myself this I have atoned and suffered!

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • Surely that sin has been atoned for; I have suffered for it as no tongue can tell.

    St. Cuthbert's Robert E. Knowles
  • He atoned for this unconsciously by the longing calculations he made.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • If I have done wrong, I have atoned for it; and it is done with.

    The Choice of Life

    Georgette Leblanc
  • "Then if I have atoned, tell me quickly your news," said the girl.

    A Soldier of the Legion C. N. Williamson
  • The laws were lenient, for most crimes could be atoned for by money or other fines.

  • So Girard atoned after his death, for the mistakes of his life.

    American Men of Mind Burton E. Stevenson
  • Harsh and unfeeling as this may have seemed, there were probably reasons which atoned for it.

    Waring's Peril Charles King
British Dictionary definitions for atoned


(intransitive) foll by for. to make amends or reparation (for a crime, sin, etc)
(transitive) to expiate: to atone a guilt with repentance
(obsolete) to be in or bring into agreement
Derived Forms
atonable, atoneable, adjective
atoner, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for atoned



1550s, from adverbial phrase atonen (c.1300) "in accord," literally "at one," a contraction of at and one. It retains the older pronunciation of one. The phrase perhaps is modeled on Latin adunare "unite," from ad- "to, at" (see ad-) + unum "one." Related: Atoned; atoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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