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[kuh n-trish-uh n] /kənˈtrɪʃ ən/
sincere penitence or remorse.
Theology. sorrow for and detestation of sin with a true purpose of amendment, arising from a love of God for His own perfections (perfect contrition) or from some inferior motive, as fear of divine punishment (imperfect contrition)
Origin of contrition
1250-1300; Middle English contricio(u)n (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin contrītiōn- (stem of contrītiō). See contrite, -ion
1. compunction, regret. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contrition
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Historical Examples
  • “We came here with a feeling of contrition, yet not wholly ashamed,” he said.

    Lorimer of the Northwest Harold Bindloss
  • "I am not going, grannie," said the Prophet, overwhelmed with contrition.

  • Instantly, he was all contrition over his unwitting offense inflicted on her womanly vanity.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • "Well, we won't say any more about it," said Matilda, softened by his contrition.

    The Tinted Venus F. Anstey
  • O but if she would only accuse him—here—this instant, so that contrition might try its value!

    John March, Southerner George W. Cable
British Dictionary definitions for contrition


deeply felt remorse; penitence
(Christianity) detestation of past sins and a resolve to make amends, either from love of God (perfect contrition) or from hope of heaven (imperfect contrition)
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 contrition

c.1300, contrycyun, from Old French contriciun (Modern French contrition) and directly from Latin contritionem (nominative contritio), noun of action from past participle stem of conterere (see contrite).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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