1 [ri-pent]
verb (used without object)
to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often followed by of ): He repented after his thoughtless act.
to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent.
verb (used with object)
to remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition: to repent one's injustice to another.
to feel sorry for; regret: to repent an imprudent act.

1250–1300; Middle English repenten < Old French repentir, equivalent to re- re- + pentir to feel sorrow (< Latin paenitēre to regret, be sorry); see penitent

repenter, noun
repentingly, adverb
unrepented, adjective
unrepenting, adjective
unrepentingly, adverb Unabridged


2 [ree-puhnt, ri-pent]

1660–70; < Latin rēpent- (stem of rēpēns), present participle of rēpere to crawl, creep; see -ent Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
repent1 (rɪˈpɛnt)
to feel remorse (for); be contrite (about); show penitence (for): he repents of his extravagance; he repented his words
[C13: from Old French repentir from re- + pentir to be contrite, from Latin paenitēre to repent]

repent2 (ˈriːpənt)
botany lying or creeping along the ground; reptant: repent stems
[C17: from Latin rēpere to creep]

reptant or repent (ˈrɛptənt, ˈriːpənt)
biology Also: repent creeping, crawling, or lying along the ground
[C17: from Latin reptāre to creep]
repent or repent
[C17: from Latin reptāre to creep]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish.
May you live to be a hundred years with one extra year to repent.
Those released were required to repent for their alleged crimes.
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