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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
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  • It was too bad of her, and so on, until she wept with grief and penitence.

    The Giant's Robe F. Anstey
  • Repent, and we will laugh at your penitence as a shallow deception.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • He sees every movement of penitence which looks toward home.

  • It was not in such a nature to know a gentle mood of penitence for a wrong done.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • But you must show your penitence by letting your last acts in this life be just and right.

  • penitence, and not remorse, I thought, was well pleasing unto God.

    St. Cuthbert's Robert E. Knowles
  • All she wanted was to get to Ireland, and end her miserable life in some retired part of the country with penitence.

    The Court of Cacus Alexander Leighton
  • There is penitence, coquetry, mischief, a thousand graces in her attitude.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
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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