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[ri-pent] /rɪˈpɛnt/
verb (used without object)
to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often followed by of):
He repented after his thoughtless act.
to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent.
verb (used with object)
to remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition:
to repent one's injustice to another.
to feel sorry for; regret:
to repent an imprudent act.
Origin of repent1
1250-1300; Middle English repenten < Old French repentir, equivalent to re- re- + pentir to feel sorrow (< Latin paenitēre to regret, be sorry); see penitent
Related forms
repenter, noun
repentingly, adverb
unrepented, adjective
unrepenting, adjective
unrepentingly, adverb


[ree-puh nt, ri-pent] /ˈri pənt, rɪˈpɛnt/
1660-70; < Latin rēpent- (stem of rēpēns), present participle of rēpere to crawl, creep; see -ent Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for repent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now my desires were complied with, and it would, indeed, have been folly to repent.

    Frankenstein Mary W. Shelley
  • God is 'not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent.'

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Alexander Maclaren
  • It is far beyond; and I repent not going there, but I was not worthy.

  • It was very fine and soft, and he began to repent of his proposal.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • It will be easy for me to make you repent any insolence to me or my friend.

    The Treasure of Pearls Gustave Aimard
  • But I will make him repent,' he added, in a threatening tone.

  • Education alone, therefore, will determine whether a man will repent of any deed or boast of it.

    The Philosophy of Spinoza Baruch de Spinoza
British Dictionary definitions for repent


to feel remorse (for); be contrite (about); show penitence (for): he repents of his extravagance, he repented his words
Derived Forms
repenter, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French repentir from re- + pentir to be contrite, from Latin paenitēre to repent


(botany) lying or creeping along the ground; reptant: repent stems
Word Origin
C17: from Latin rēpere to creep
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 repent

c.1300, "to feel such regret for sins or crimes as produces amendment of life," from Old French repentir (11c.), from re-, here probably an intensive prefix (see re-), + Vulgar Latin *penitire "to regret," from Latin poenitire "make sorry," from poena (see penal). The distinction between regret (q.v.) and repent is made in many modern languages, but the differentiation is not present in older periods. Related: Repented; repenting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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