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.
to make amends for; expiate: He atoned his sins.
Obsolete. to bring into unity, harmony, concord, etc.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use atone in a sentence
From north to south and east to west, colleges and universities have launched similar reviews of their institutional history and what should be done to acknowledge and atone for it.Va. House votes to force public colleges to reckon with ties to slavery, create scholarships or other programs | Nick Anderson | February 4, 2021 | Washington Post
Too often America attempts to atone for racism through style and symbol rather than substance.Putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill Is Not a Sign of Progress. It's a Sign of Disrespect | Brittney Cooper | January 27, 2021 | Time
Instead of beating yourself up, or trying to atone for eating more than feels comfortable, just let your body do its thing and digest.
“He has spent that last six months trying to atone for what he did,” Moyse said after the hearing.Bethesda bike-trail assailant pleads guilty to assault in flier-snatching case | Dan Morse | December 16, 2020 | Washington Post
Because the Steelers say they’re so angry and ready to atone, any strong Washington performance retains all its weight.Pittsburgh’s misshapen schedule has offered Washington a lucky break — and a chance | Thomas M. Boswell | December 3, 2020 | Washington Post
Andrew Sullivan, for my money, has atoned in ways Hitchens never did (and Kelly never had the chance to).
More recently, he and his wife, Lynne, have atoned for their tight-fistedness.
With or amongst the Romanists to leave the shore is an act of disbelief which must be atoned for by penance or punishment.Ancient Faiths And Modern | Thomas Inman
Whatever deficiencies there may have been in their early training were largely atoned for by native energy and force of character.
If he had forgotten her in the excitement of his interview, he atoned for it by a vivid blush.From Sand Hill to Pine | Bret Harte
Miss Brayton had little to say, but her quietness was more than atoned for by the vivacity of Sadie and Margaret.The Pony Rider Boys in Texas | Frank Gee Patchin
Why should he punish a fault committed so many years ago, and atoned for by twenty years of devotion and suffering?File No. 113 | Emile Gaboriau
British Dictionary definitions for atone
(intr foll by for) to make amends or reparation (for a crime, sin, etc)
(tr) to expiate: to atone a guilt with repentance
obsolete to be in or bring into agreement
- 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.