- feeling or expressing sorrow for sin or wrongdoing and disposed to atonement and amendment; repentant; contrite.
- a penitent person.
- Roman Catholic Church. a person who confesses sin and submits to a penance.
Origin of penitent
1325–75; Middle English < Medieval Latin pēnitent-, Latin paenitent- (stem of paenitēns), present participle of paenitēre to regret; replacing Middle English penaunt < Anglo-French; see penance
SynonymsSee more synonyms for penitent on Thesaurus.com
1. remorseful, rueful, sorrowful.
1. unrepentant, impenitent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for penitently
"Sorry," Sally said penitently, and they walked in silence until they reached the house.Phyllis
"Truly, I never thought of such a thing," Louise said penitently.In Blue Creek Caon
Anna Chapin Ray
"I suppose I ought to be looking wretched," I said penitently.Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1907 to 1908
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Forgive me, Peggy, he said penitently; I appreciate your coming more than I can say.The Rough Road
William John Locke
Ive been a brute again, cried Nancy, penitently, dashing after her mother.
- feeling regret for one's sins; repentant
- a person who is penitent
- a person who repents his sins and seeks forgiveness for them
- RC Churcha person who confesses his sins to a priest and submits to a penance imposed by him
C14: from Church Latin paenitēns regretting, from paenitēre to repent, of obscure origin
Word Origin and History for penitently
mid-14c., from Old French pénitent (14c.) and directly from Latin paenitentem (see penitence). As a noun, late 14c., from the adjective.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper