[ ri-pen-tns, -pen-tuhns ]
/ rɪˈpɛn tns, -ˈpɛn təns /


deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.
regret for any past action.

Nearby words

  1. repechage,
  2. repel,
  3. repellant,
  4. repellent,
  5. repent,
  6. repentant,
  7. repentigny,
  8. repeople,
  9. repercussion,
  10. repercussive

Origin of repentance

1300–50; Middle English repentaunce < Old French repentance. See repent1, -ance

Related formsnon·re·pent·ance, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for repentance


/ (rɪˈpɛntəns) /


remorse or contrition for one's past actions or sins
an act or the process of being repentant; penitence
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 repentance



c.1300, from Old French repentance "penitence" (12c.), from present participle stem of repentir (see repent).

Repentance goes beyond feeling to express distinct purposes of turning from sin to righteousness; the Bible word most often translated repentance means a change of mental and spiritual attitude toward sin. [Century Dictionary]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper