Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for atoning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In his reticence he had the sense of atoning not only to the apparition but to Miss Hernshaw too.

    Questionable Shapes William Dean Howells
  • Where then the cherished hope of one day atoning for his wrongs to those who loved him!

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • In his silent hours of remorse he had cherished it as one atoning circumstance.

  • He himself was not eating, for was he not atoning for his sins?

    Debts of Honor Maurus Jkai
  • Then, too, His atoning work on the cross has no meaning for us.

    The Work Of Christ A. C. Gaebelein
  • Evidently the hunters had brought in plenty of game and they were atoning for a fast.

    The Border Watch Joseph A. Altsheler
  • It was in this sprinkling of the blood that the atoning work was completed.

  • All has been "once and for ever" settled by the atoning death of the Lamb of God.

    Life and Times of David Charles Henry Mackintosh
  • Are there no means of atoning for the offense I have committed?

    Child of a Century, Complete Alfred de Musset
British Dictionary definitions for atoning


(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for atoning



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for atone

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for atoning

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for atoning