• synonyms


[pen-i-ten-tey, -tee]
  1. a member of a religious order, chiefly in Spanish-American communities in New Mexico, known for their practice of self-flagellation, especially during Holy Week.
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Origin of Penitente

1830–40, Americanism; < Spanish, singular of Penitentes, short for Los Hermanos Penitentes the penitent brothers
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for penitente

Historical Examples

  • These attitudes were materialized in the building of the penitente moradas.

    The Penitente Moradas of Abiqui

    Richard E. Ahlborn

  • Penitente membership comprises two strata distinguishable by title and activity.

  • Edmonson's study of 1950 has established the persistence of penitente activity in Hispano culture.

  • Penitente moradas share a common system of adobe construction with the religious and domestic structures of New Mexico.

  • Also known as La Doa Sebastiana, her image clearly marks a building as a penitente sanctuary.