- a member of a religious order, chiefly in Spanish-American communities in New Mexico, known for their practice of self-flagellation, especially during Holy Week.
Origin of Penitente
1830–40, Americanism; < Spanish, singular of Penitentes, short for Los Hermanos Penitentes the penitent brothers
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for penitente
These attitudes were materialized in the building of the penitente moradas.
Penitente membership comprises two strata distinguishable by title and activity.
Edmonson's study of 1950 has established the persistence of penitente activity in Hispano culture.
Penitente moradas share a common system of adobe construction with the religious and domestic structures of New Mexico.
Also known as La Doa Sebastiana, her image clearly marks a building as a penitente sanctuary.