- 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
Related Wordsconscience, pity, ruth, penitence, shame, repentance, reluctance, misgiving, contrition, sympathy, remorse, qualm, attrition, rue, punctiliousness
Examples from the Web for compunction
He had been audited when he was out of office, and now he had no compunction about using his power as president.IRS Audits, Benghazi, Sebelius: Obama’s Second Term Is Scandal Heaven
May 14, 2013
This is a man who has traveled to Iran and China with no compunction.Hawking's Bad Boycott Timing
May 13, 2013
Penn State students, however, have shown no compunction about buying up as many season tickets as possible.Penn State's Economic Fallout: Will the Sandusky Scandal Sink a Whole City?
July 17, 2012
When I get them alone, I have no compunction about blowing them to bits.Daniel Klaidman on the Mind of a Drone Strike Operator
June 8, 2012
Today, however, ambitious politicians feel no compunction at launching initial campaigns as strangers and newcomers.
His tone was filled full to overflowing with compunction as he answered.Within the Law
Hers was not the nature to spare him, and she had no compunction.Little Dorrit
Mr. Don rises, wincing, and Dick also is at once on his feet, full of compunction.Echoes of the War
J. M. Barrie
But the minister, filled with compunction, took her up in his arms.Salted With Fire
A sudden feeling of shame brought with it one of compunction.His Masterpiece
- a feeling of remorse, guilt, or regret
Word Origin and History for compunction
mid-14c., from Old French compunction (12c., Modern French componction), from Late Latin compunctionem (nominative compunctio) "remorse; a pricking" (of conscience), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin compungere "to severely prick, sting," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + pungere "to prick" (see pungent). Used in figurative sense by early Church writers. Originally a much more intense feeling, similar to "remorse," or "contrition."