[ uh-tohn ]
See synonyms for: atoneatoningatonableatoneable on

verb (used without object),a·toned, a·ton·ing.
  1. 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.

  2. to make up, as for errors or deficiencies (usually followed by for): to atone for one's failings.

  1. Obsolete. to become reconciled; agree.

verb (used with object),a·toned, a·ton·ing.
  1. to make amends for; expiate: He atoned his sins.

  2. Obsolete. to bring into unity, harmony, concord, etc.

Origin of atone

First recorded in 1545–55; back formation from atonement

Other words from atone

  • a·ton·a·ble, a·tone·a·ble, adjective
  • a·ton·er, noun
  • a·ton·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·a·toned, adjective
  • un·a·ton·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use atone in a sentence

  • A story of the pain of the soul in its awful solitude—of its impotent striving for at-one-ment.

    Nuggets of the New Thought | William Walker Atkinson,
  • He has transgressed his conception of the One Law and suffers in getting back to at-one-ment.

    Happiness and Marriage | Elizabeth (Jones) Towne
  • Then indeed had he attained at-one-ment,170 containing no difference, neither in regard to himself, nor to other beings.

    Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 1 | Plotinos (Plotinus)
  • Live so as to become at one with God, and dwell continually in this blessed at-one-ment.

    What All The World's A-Seeking | Ralph Waldo Trine
  • The idea of at-one-ment was never more intelligible than in these latter days.

    With God in the World | Charles H. Brent

British Dictionary definitions for atone


/ (əˈtəʊn) /

  1. (intr foll by for) to make amends or reparation (for a crime, sin, etc)

  2. (tr) to expiate: to atone a guilt with repentance

  1. obsolete to be in or bring into agreement

Origin of atone

C16: back formation from atonement

Derived forms of atone

  • atonable or atoneable, adjective
  • atoner, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with atone


In agreement, in harmony, as in John and Pat were at one on every subject except her cat, which made him sneeze, or Springtime always makes me feel at one with nature. [1300s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.