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[kuh n-trish-uh n] /kənˈtrɪʃ ən/
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)
Origin of 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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for contrition
  • 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.
  • We know that humiliation, deflated pride, and cultural contrition can be improving.
  • In truth, this was not an act of contrition but an act of containment.
  • The congressmen scoffed at it as a cynical stunt or else a phony act of contrition.
  • They've all changed their tunes, a little or a lot, with various degrees of contrition.
  • For this, and for disrespecting the national pastime with his alleged deceptions, fans want his contrition.
  • Yet the weight given contrition cannot be beyond review for reasonableness.
British Dictionary definitions for contrition


deeply felt remorse; penitence
(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 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 contrition

c.1300, contrycyun, from Old French contriciun (Modern French contrition) and directly from Latin contritionem (nominative contritio), noun of action from past participle stem of conterere (see contrite).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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