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[kuh n-trahyt, kon-trahyt] /kənˈtraɪt, ˈkɒn traɪt/
caused by or showing sincere remorse.
filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent:
a contrite sinner.
Origin of contrite
1300-50; Middle English contrit (< Anglo-French) < Latin contrītus worn down, crushed, past participle of conterere. See con-, trite
Related forms
contritely, adverb
contriteness, noun
overcontrite, adjective
overcontritely, adverb
overcontriteness, noun
uncontrite, adjective
2. rueful, remorseful, repentant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for contrite
  • She may, in fact, get away with a warning if she seems contrite and/or genuinely confused.
  • Read it quickly, and it sounds terrifically contrite.
  • They found him in his backyard beside the pool, shaken from the hospital visit and seemingly contrite.
  • Under cross-examination he came across as pushy and even indignant, rather than contrite.
  • They had seen others be jerks, or had been jerks themselves, and were contrite about it.
  • Although her contrite parent decides to let her make the attempt, the going isn't smooth until she wins a contest in a night club.
  • After inmates submit and act contrite, they are often again treated kindly.
  • Finally, during his appearance, he testified that he was remorseful and contrite regarding his criminal behavior.
British Dictionary definitions for contrite


/kənˈtraɪt; ˈkɒntraɪt/
full of guilt or regret; remorseful
arising from a sense of shame or guilt: contrite promises
(theol) remorseful for past sin and resolved to avoid future sin
Derived Forms
contritely, adverb
contriteness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin contrītus worn out, from conterere to bruise, from terere to grind
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for contrite

c.1300, from Old French contrit and directly from Latin contritus, literally "worn out, ground to pieces," past participle of conterere "to grind," from com- "together" (see com-) + terere "to rub" (see throw (v.)). Used in English in figurative sense of "crushed in spirit by a sense of sin." Related: Contritely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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