[kuhn-trahyt, kon-trahyt]


caused by or showing sincere remorse.
filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent: a contrite sinner.

Origin of contrite

1300–50; Middle English contrit (< Anglo-French) < Latin contrītus worn down, crushed, past participle of conterere. See con-, trite
Related formscon·trite·ly, adverbcon·trite·ness, nouno·ver·con·trite, adjectiveo·ver·con·trite·ly, adverbo·ver·con·trite·ness, nounun·con·trite, adjective

Synonyms for contrite Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contritely

Contemporary Examples of contritely

Historical Examples of contritely

  • "I'll not say another personal word," he murmured, contritely.

  • “I hope you will humbly pardon me, Mr. Burns,” he said contritely.

  • Florian looked up at her contritely, and smiled his winning smile.


    Edna Ferber

  • "Sylvie, I had no idea things would be like that," he told her contritely.

    The Cosmic Computer

    Henry Beam Piper

  • "Say, hold your hosses, Markham," said Hartridge contritely.

    Sundry Accounts

    Irvin S. Cobb

British Dictionary definitions for contritely



full of guilt or regret; remorseful
arising from a sense of shame or guiltcontrite promises
theol remorseful for past sin and resolved to avoid future sin
Derived Formscontritely, adverbcontriteness, noun

Word Origin for contrite

C14: from Latin contrītus worn out, from conterere to bruise, from terere to grind
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 contritely



c.1300, from Old French contrit and directly from Latin contritus, literally "worn out, ground to pieces," past participle of conterere "to grind," from com- "together" (see com-) + terere "to rub" (see throw (v.)). Used in English in figurative sense of "crushed in spirit by a sense of sin." Related: Contritely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper