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

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.
to make up, as for errors or deficiencies (usually followed by for): to atone for one's failings.
Obsolete. to become reconciled; agree.

verb (used with object), a·toned, a·ton·ing.

to make amends for; expiate: He atoned his sins.
Obsolete. to bring into unity, harmony, concord, etc.

Origin of atone

First recorded in 1545–55; back formation from atonement
Related formsa·ton·a·ble, a·tone·a·ble, adjectivea·ton·er, nouna·ton·ing·ly, adverbun·a·toned, adjectiveun·a·ton·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for atoned

Contemporary Examples of atoned

  • Andrew Sullivan, for my money, has atoned in ways Hitchens never did (and Kelly never had the chance to).

    The Daily Beast logo
    Michael Kelly and the War

    Michael Tomasky

    April 4, 2013

  • More recently, he and his wife, Lynne, have atoned for their tight-fistedness.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Stingiest Politicians

    The Daily Beast

    April 16, 2010

Historical Examples of atoned

  • If you knew how in denying myself this I have atoned and suffered!


    Rafael Sabatini

  • Surely that sin has been atoned for; I have suffered for it as no tongue can tell.

    St. Cuthbert's

    Robert E. Knowles

  • He atoned for this unconsciously by the longing calculations he made.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

  • If I have done wrong, I have atoned for it; and it is done with.

    The Choice of Life

    Georgette Leblanc

  • "Then if I have atoned, tell me quickly your news," said the girl.

    A Soldier of the Legion

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for atoned



(intr foll by for) to make amends or reparation (for a crime, sin, etc)
(tr) to expiateto atone a guilt with repentance
obsolete to be in or bring into agreement
Derived Formsatonable or atoneable, adjectiveatoner, noun

Word Origin for atone

C16: back formation from atonement
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 atoned



1550s, from adverbial phrase atonen (c.1300) "in accord," literally "at one," a contraction of at and one. It retains the older pronunciation of one. The phrase perhaps is modeled on Latin adunare "unite," from ad- "to, at" (see ad-) + unum "one." Related: Atoned; atoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper