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Origin of remorse

1325–75; Middle English < Middle French remors < Medieval Latin remorsus, equivalent to Latin remord(ere) to bite again, vex, nag (re- re- + mordere to bite) + -tus suffix of v. action, with dt > s; see mordant
Related formspre·re·morse, noun

Synonyms for remorse

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for remorse

Contemporary Examples of remorse

Historical Examples of remorse

  • What if Remorse should assume the features of an injured friend?

  • A feeling of remorse came over him as he put the book on the table.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • No remorse could have come to him with a step more certain or more conquering.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • But you would pardon me if you knew how much I have suffered from it, and how keen my remorse has been.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • But my remorse for all this was deep, and my sufferings, in consequence, were as great as yours.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for remorse


  1. a sense of deep regret and guilt for some misdeed
  2. compunction; pity; compassion
Derived Formsremorseful, adjectiveremorsefully, adverbremorsefulness, noun

Word Origin for remorse

C14: from Medieval Latin remorsus a gnawing, from Latin remordēre to bite again, from re- + mordēre to bite
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 remorse

late 14c., from Old French remors (Modern French remords), from Medieval Latin remorsum, noun use of neuter past participle of Latin remordere "to vex, disturb," literally "to bite back," from re- "back" (see re-) + mordere "to bite" (see mordant).

The sense evolution was via the Medieval Latin phrase remorsus conscientiæ (translated into Middle English as ayenbite of inwit). Middle English also had a verb, remord "to strike with remorse, touch with compassion, prick one's conscience."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper