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regret

[ri-gret]
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verb (used with object), re·gret·ted, re·gret·ting.
  1. to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.): He no sooner spoke than he regretted it.
  2. to think of with a sense of loss: to regret one's vanished youth.
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noun
  1. a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.
  2. a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc.
  3. regrets, a polite, usually formal refusal of an invitation: I sent her my regrets.
  4. a note expressing regret at one's inability to accept an invitation: I have had four acceptances and one regret.
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Origin of regret

1300–50; Middle English regretten (v.) < Middle French regreter, Old French, equivalent to re- re- + -greter, perhaps < Germanic (cf. greet2)
Related formsre·gret·ter, nounre·gret·ting·ly, adverbun·re·gret·ted, adjectiveun·re·gret·ting, adjective
Can be confusedbegrudge regret resent (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms

See more synonyms for regret on Thesaurus.com
1. deplore, lament, bewail, bemoan, mourn, sorrow, grieve. Regret, penitence, remorse imply a sense of sorrow about events in the past, usually wrongs committed or errors made. Regret is distress of mind, sorrow for what has been done or failed to be done: to have no regrets. Penitence implies a sense of sin or misdoing, a feeling of contrition and determination not to sin again: a humble sense of penitence. Remorse implies pangs, qualms of conscience, a sense of guilt, regret, and repentance for sins committed, wrongs done, or duty not performed: a deep sense of remorse.

Antonyms

1. rejoice. 4. joy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for regret

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Percival fancied there was a look almost of regret in the girl's eyes.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Then I regret to say that the boy, Robert Rushton, is unworthy of your friendship.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • I regret this, but did the best I could under the circumstances.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • If he carried her triumphantly off, doubtless his regret for that would eventually be as great.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • We regret that his tours are so rapid, and his journals so brief.


British Dictionary definitions for regret

regret

verb -grets, -gretting or -gretted (tr)
  1. (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to feel sorry, repentant, or upset about
  2. to bemoan or grieve the death or loss of
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noun
  1. a sense of repentance, guilt, or sorrow, as over some wrong done or an unfulfilled ambition
  2. a sense of loss or grief
  3. (plural) a polite expression of sadness, esp in a formal refusal of an invitation
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Derived Formsregretful, adjectiveregretfully, adverbregretfulness, nounregrettable, adjectiveregrettably, adverbregretter, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French regrete, of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse grāta to weep

usage

Regretful and regretfully are sometimes wrongly used where regrettable and regrettably are meant: he gave a regretful smile; he smiled regretfully; this is a regrettable (not regretful) mistake; regrettably (not regretfully) , I shall be unable to attend
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 regret

v.

"to look back with distress or sorrowful longing; to grieve for on remembering," late 14c., from Old French regreter "long after, bewail, lament someone's death; ask the help of" (Modern French regretter), from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + -greter, possibly from Frankish or some other Germanic source (cf. Old English grætan "to weep;" Old Norse grata "to weep, groan"), from Proto-Germanic *gretan "weep." "Not found in other Romance languages, and variously explained" [Century Dictionary].

Related: Regretted; regretting. Replaced Old English ofþyncan, from of- "off, away," here denoting opposition, + þyncan "seem, seem fit" (as in methinks).

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n.

"pain or distress in the mind at something done or left undone," 1530s, from the verb, or from Middle French regret, back-formation from regreter (see regret (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper