- of, pertaining to, proceeding from, or expressive of penitence or repentance.
- a penitent.
- a book or code of canons relating to penance, its imposition, etc.
Origin of penitential
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for penitential
He cannot even command the price of a penitential three-fingers of rye.The Trail of '98
Robert W. Service
I could tell his intonation of a penitential psalm among a thousand.Simon Dale
In all the penitential discipline of the church also bond and free were on an equality.Folkways
William Graham Sumner
It was a kind of penitential class for dunces during play‑time.The Martian
George Du Maurier
I learnt from the monk that he was a Trappist, and that he was making a penitential tour.Mauprat
- of, showing, or constituting penance
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 penitential
c.1500, from Medieval Latin penitentialis, from Latin paenitentia "repentance" (see penitence).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper