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[ri-mawrs] /rɪˈmɔrs/
deep and painful regret for wrongdoing; compunction.
Obsolete. pity; compassion.
Origin of remorse
1325-75; Middle English < Middle French remors < Medieval Latin remorsus, equivalent to Latin remord(ere) to bite again, vex, nag (re- re- + mordere to bite) + -tus suffix of v. action, with dt > s; see mordant
Related forms
preremorse, noun
1. contrition. See regret. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for remorse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "It matters not now, dear Ernest," I cried, pained by the torturing sighs that spoke the depth of his remorse.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • What if remorse should assume the features of an injured friend?

  • It is curious, by the way, that he suffered no remorse on account of Mrs. Larue.

  • But my remorse for all this was deep, and my sufferings, in consequence, were as great as yours.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • (p. 088) Lockhart need hardly have added, "or into that misery of miseries, the remorse of a poet."

    Robert Burns Principal Shairp.
British Dictionary definitions for remorse


a sense of deep regret and guilt for some misdeed
compunction; pity; compassion
Derived Forms
remorseful, adjective
remorsefully, adverb
remorsefulness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin remorsus a gnawing, from Latin remordēre to bite again, from re- + mordēre to bite
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 remorse

late 14c., from Old French remors (Modern French remords), from Medieval Latin remorsum, noun use of neuter past participle of Latin remordere "to vex, disturb," literally "to bite back," from re- "back" (see re-) + mordere "to bite" (see mordant).

The sense evolution was via the Medieval Latin phrase remorsus conscientiæ (translated into Middle English as ayenbite of inwit). Middle English also had a verb, remord "to strike with remorse, touch with compassion, prick one's conscience."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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