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[pen-i-tuh ns] /ˈpɛn ɪ təns/
the state of being penitent; regret for one's wrongdoing or sinning; contrition; repentance.
Origin of penitence
1150-1200; Middle English (< Old French) < Medieval Latin pēnitentia, Latin paenitentia a regretting. See penitent, -ence
See regret. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for penitence
  • He is one of several judges around the country who believe unusual sentences, usually some form of public penitence, work.
  • It's a rare feature since they can forgive faults and consider penitence.
  • There are criminals that deserve at least some form of penitence, but society must not make it too harsh.
  • There are many scenes of processions, self-flagellation and public penitence.
  • Versailles is not a place for penitence.
  • Before her act of forgiveness had to come signs of his penitence.
  • No penitence, only missiles, from both sides.
  • Genuine grief is like penitence, not clamorous, but subdued.
  • Nobody seems to have any confidence in their professed penitence.
  • The dancers both sank to the earth in penitence and whirled in exaltation.
Word Origin and History for penitence

c.1200, from Old French penitence (11c.) and directly from Latin paenitentia "repentance," noun of condition from paenitentum (nominative paenitens) "penitent," present participle of paenitere "cause or feel regret," probably originally "is not enough, is unsatisfactory," from paene "nearby, almost."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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