• synonyms


[kuhn-trahyt, kon-trahyt]
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  1. caused by or showing sincere remorse.
  2. filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent: a contrite sinner.
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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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for contriteness

compunction, regret, guilt, repentance, shame, penitence, remorse, attrition

Examples from the Web for contriteness

Historical Examples of contriteness

  • There was no contriteness in his heart; no impression had been made upon him.

    Watch Yourself Go By

    Al. G. Field

  • Dr. Bemis's voice changed from harsh tenseness to contriteness.


    Roger Phillips Graham

  • But, instead of saying that, he stood looking at me, with a tragically humble sort of contriteness.

    The Prairie Mother

    Arthur Stringer

  • When he had caught up with her, his contriteness was such that she was willing to believe he had not meant to insult her.

  • (Worship God in spirit and with the contriteness of thy spirit).

British Dictionary definitions for contriteness


  1. full of guilt or regret; remorseful
  2. arising from a sense of shame or guiltcontrite promises
  3. theol remorseful for past sin and resolved to avoid future sin
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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 contriteness



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper