[ pen-i-tuh ns ]
/ ˈpɛn ɪ təns /


the state of being penitent; regret for one's wrongdoing or sinning; contrition; repentance.

Nearby words

  1. peninsular war,
  2. peninsulate,
  3. penis,
  4. penis envy,
  5. penischisis,
  6. penitent,
  7. penitente,
  8. penitentes,
  9. penitential,
  10. penitential psalm

Origin of penitence

1150–1200; Middle English (< Old French) < Medieval Latin pēnitentia, Latin paenitentia a regretting. See penitent, -ence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penitence

Word Origin and History for penitence



c.1200, from Old French penitence (11c.) and directly from Latin paenitentia "repentance," noun of condition from paenitentum (nominative paenitens) "penitent," present participle of paenitere "cause or feel regret," probably originally "is not enough, is unsatisfactory," from paene "nearby, almost."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper