penance

[ pen-uh ns ]
/ ˈpɛn əns /

noun

a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin.
a penitential discipline imposed by church authority.
a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin.

Origin of penance

1250–1300; Middle English penaunce < Anglo-French; Old French peneance < Latin paenitentia penitence
Related formspen·ance·less, adjective
Can be confusedpenance pennants
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penance

British Dictionary definitions for penance

penance

/ (ˈpɛnəns) /

noun

voluntary self-punishment to atone for a sin, crime, etc
a feeling of regret for one's wrongdoings
Christianity
  1. a punishment usually consisting of prayer, fasting, etc, undertaken voluntarily as an expression of penitence for sin
  2. a punishment of this kind imposed by church authority as a condition of absolution

verb

(tr) (of ecclesiastical authorities) to impose a penance upon (a sinner)

Word Origin for penance

C13: via Old French from Latin paenitentia repentance; related to Latin poena penalty
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 penance

penance


n.

late 13c., "religious discipline or self-mortification as a token of repentance and as atonement for some sin," from Anglo-French penaunce, Old French peneance (12c.), from Latin pænitentia (see penitence). Transferred sense is recorded from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for penance

penance


Acts done to make up for sin. (See confession and indulgence.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.