penance

[ pen-uhns ]
/ 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.

QUIZZES

IS YOUR VOCABULARY AS STRONG AS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT? TRY THIS QUIZ TO SEE!

It may seem like fun and games but this quiz that uses vocab from popular stories will determine how much you know.
Question 1 of 10
disgruntle

Origin of penance

1250–1300; Middle English penaunce<Anglo-French; Old French peneance<Latin paenitentiapenitence

OTHER WORDS FROM penance

pen·ance·less, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH penance

penance , pennants.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences 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

Cultural 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.