Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday February 18, 2003
compunction \kuhm-PUHNK-shuhn\ , noun:
1. Anxiety or deep unease proceeding from a sense of guilt or consciousness of causing pain.
2. A sting of conscience or a twinge of uneasiness; a qualm; a scruple.
Not only were tears one means of prayer, according to Benedict, they were the only pure form: "We must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words."
-- Tom Lutz, Crying
Yet, while Louise and Ruth and I and all our ilk are consumed by self-reproach, these two can recall not an ounce of compunction.
-- Rose Shepherd, "Fatal egg by pleasure laid", Independent, September 3, 1996
If they succeeded, however, Sicily would simply come under the authority of the new revolutionary government in Naples, a government that would feel no compunctions whatsoever about saddling the island with even more "stamp duties, official papers, and forced labor" than before.
-- James Fentress, Rebels and Mafiosi
I would reveal all without compunction because he is after all, my ex.
-- Karen Karbo, Generation Ex
Compunction derives from Late Latin compunctio, compunction-, "sting or pricking of conscience," from the past participle of compungere, "to prick severely," from com-, intensive prefix + pungere, "to prick."