late 13c., "to feel regret for sins or crimes," from O.Fr. repentir (11c.), from re-, intensive prefix, + V.L. *penitire "to regret," from L. poenitire "make sorry," from poena (see penal). The distinction between regret (q.v.) and repent is made
in many modern languages, but the differentiation is not present in older periods. Repentance is recorded from c.1300, from O.Fr. repentance (12c.).