[ kuh m-puhngk-shuh n ]
/ kəmˈpʌŋk ʃən /


a feeling of uneasiness or anxiety of the conscience caused by regret for doing wrong or causing pain; contrition; remorse.
any uneasiness or hesitation about the rightness of an action.

Origin of compunction

1350–1400; Middle English compunccion (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin compūnctiōn- (stem of compūnctiō), equivalent to Latin compūnct(us), past participle of compungere to prick severely (com- com- + pungere to prick; cf. point) + -iōn- -ion

Related forms

com·punc·tion·less, adjective

Can be confused

compulsion compunction Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for compunction

British Dictionary definitions for compunction


/ (kəmˈpʌŋkʃən) /


a feeling of remorse, guilt, or regret

Derived Forms

compunctious, adjectivecompunctiously, adverb

Word Origin for compunction

C14: from Church Latin compunctiō, from Latin compungere to sting, from com- (intensive) + pungere to puncture; see point
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