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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 contritely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thatcher took the seat indicated, contritely, humbly, submissively.

    The Story of a Mine Bret Harte
  • Florian looked up at her contritely, and smiled his winning smile.

    Gigolo Edna Ferber
  • “Of course, sir, he came in when I went to call Miss Winnie,” she had said contritely.

    Dangerous Ground Lawrence L. Lynch
  • "I suppose we are a great deal of trouble," said Patty, contritely.

  • "Say, hold your hosses, Markham," said Hartridge contritely.

    Sundry Accounts Irvin S. Cobb
  • "I don't care to be saucy, but it is so original," Elsa said contritely.

    The Devil Joseph O'Brien
  • "I'm sorry I bored you with that harangue," he said contritely.

    Dennison Grant Robert Stead
  • It was silly of me ever to have suspected you, he said, contritely.

  • She marvelled that she had ever found him unapproachable and wondered, contritely, if her shyness had been alone to blame.

British Dictionary definitions for contritely


/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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contritely



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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