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[ri-pen-tns, -pen-tuh ns] /rɪˈpɛn tns, -ˈpɛn təns/
deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.
regret for any past action.
Origin of repentance
1300-50; Middle English repentaunce < Old French repentance. See repent1, -ance
Related forms
nonrepentance, noun
1. contriteness, penitence, remorse. 2. sorrow, qualms.
1. impenitence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for repentance
  • The sounds emanating from the ram's horn awaken our spirits and compel the listener to repentance and to action.
  • Beyond some well-turned declarations, he sees no sign of genuine repentance.
  • He spent his time in jail in alternate fits of violence and pretended repentance.
  • Its pursuit of interest over democracy has shown its hypocrisy, but it can make amends only with repentance.
  • None of these hasty couples seem to be bound for anything except repentance at leisure.
  • Church officials emphasize that indulgences depend on sincere repentance and are not a loophole for sinners.
  • Apart from anything else, the secret speech was an act of repentance.
  • Before reconciliation, there must be recognition and repentance.
  • Please accept the sincere regards of your future repentance.
  • In this season of repentance and renewal, let us commit ourselves to a more hopeful future.
British Dictionary definitions for repentance


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
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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
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repentance in the Bible

There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3). (2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised. Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments. The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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