sincere penitence or remorse.
Theology. sorrow for and detestation of sin with a true purpose of amendment, arising from a love of God for His own perfections (perfect contrition) or from some inferior motive, as fear of divine punishment (imperfect contrition)

1250–1300; Middle English contricio(u)n (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin contrītiōn- (stem of contrītiō). See contrite, -ion

1. compunction, regret. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
contrition (kənˈtrɪʃən)
1.  deeply felt remorse; penitence
2.  Christianity detestation of past sins and a resolve to make amends, either from love of God (perfect contrition) or from hope of heaven (imperfect contrition)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. contricium, from L. contritionem, noun of action from conterere (see contrite).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Real contrition rests on awareness and regret, not political expediency.
He showed no readiness for reflection, much less contrition.
But another everyday observation is that powerful people who have been caught
  out often show little sign of contrition.
Contrition, pessimism and voluminous disclosure are the order of the day.
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