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Word of the Day
Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Definitions for compunction

  1. Anxiety or deep unease proceeding from a sense of guilt or consciousness of causing pain.
  2. A sting of conscience or a twinge of uneasiness; a qualm; a scruple.

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Citations for compunction
Not only were tears one means of prayer, according to Benedict, they were the only pure form: "We must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words." Tom Lutz, Crying
Yet, while Louise and Ruth and I and all our ilk are consumed by self-reproach, these two can recall not an ounce of compunction. Rose Shepherd, Independent
Origin of compunction
Compunction derives from Late Latin compunctio, compunction-, "sting or pricking of conscience," from the past participle of compungere, "to prick severely," from com-, intensive prefix + pungere, "to prick."