penitence


penitence
penitence, repentance, contrition, attrition, compunction, remorse denote sorrow or regret for sin or wrongdoing.
Penitence implies little more than such sorrow or regret
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the outward signs of penitence

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all calls to penitence fall on deaf ears. Penitence implies admission of guilt and no one wishes to stand accused— Political Science Quarterly

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he showed his penitence in many ways

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the majority . . . took the attitude that no sin is beyond forgiveness if it is followed by true penitenceLatourette

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Repentance is richer in its implications, for it also implies a change of heart, an awareness of one's shortcomings morally or spiritually, or of the evil of one's actions or life as a whole
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I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentanceLk 5:32

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God of his mercy give you patience to endure, and true repentance—Shak.

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there's no repentance in the grave— Wattsy

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Contrition and attrition are both theological terms, and as such contrasted; only contrition is found in general use.
Both imply deep sorrow for sin and the purpose of amendment, but in theological use contrition implies that one's sorrow arises out of love of God and a realization of one's failure to respond to his graces, and attrition that it arises from a low-er motive, such as fear of hell or fear of the loss of heaven
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O may Thy love and pity supply whatsoever has been wanting in the sufficiency of my contritionManual of Prayers

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sacramental grace to raise our sorrow from attrition to contritionManning

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In general use contrition implies penitence that is manifest in signs of pain or grief
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you must—whether you feel it or no—present an appearance of contritionMeredith

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Sophia thought that, after such a sin, the least Amy could do was to show contritionBennetty

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Compunction and remorse both imply a painful sting of conscience, but compunction usually suggests a momentary reaction not only for something already done, but also for something being done or to be done, and remorse usually suggests prolonged and insistent self-reproach and often intense suffering for past wrongs and especially for those whose consequences cannot be escaped
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a heartless scoundrel who had . . . abandoned her in her poverty forevermore, with no touch of compunctionDickens

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would not have hurt a gnat unless his party . . . told him to do so, and then only with compunctionSir Winston Churchill

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not one of them . . . was showing any trifling compunction at deserting the rebel cause when it was most in needKenneth Roberts

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remorse that makes one walk on thorns— Wilde

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spent in Paris a year marked by futile indiscretions and equally futile remorse—E. S. Bates

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O, that the vain remorse which must chastise crimes done, had but as loud a voice to warn, as its keen sting is mortal to avenge!— Shelley

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Analogous words: regret, *sorrow, anguish: humiliation, humbling, degradation, debasement (see corresponding verbs at ABASE): *qualm, scruple
Contrasted words: obdurateness or obduracy, inexorableness, adamant (see corresponding adjectives at INFLEXIBLE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • PÉNITENCE — La pénitence peut n’être qu’expiatoire et renvoyer aux religions qui apaisent la culpabilité à l’aide de rites piaculaires. Si l’on en croit René Girard (La Violence et le sacré , Paris, 1972), le premier sacrifice de la première victime surgit… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • penitence — PENITENCE. s. f. Repentir, regret d avoir offense Dieu. La penitence est une vertu chrétienne. la penitence doit estre sincere & constante. la penitence n est point veritable quand elle n est point accompagnée d une ferme resolution de ne plus… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Penitence — Pénitence Catholicisme Religions sœurs (branches) Catholicisme · Orthodoxie · Protestantisme Spécificités Église catholique romaine · Histoire de l Église catholique romaine Spécificités …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Penitence — Pen i*tence, n. [F. p[ e]nitence, L. paenitentia. See {Penitent}, and cf. {Penance}.] The quality or condition of being penitent; the disposition of a penitent; sorrow for sins or faults; repentance; contrition. Penitence of his old guilt.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • penitence — c.1200, from O.Fr. penitence (11c.), from L. paenitentia repentance, from paenitentum (nom. paenitens) penitent, prp. of paenitere cause or feel regret, probably originally is not enough, is unsatisfactory, from paene nearby, almost …   Etymology dictionary

  • penitence — [pen′i təns] n. [OFr < L paenitentia] the state of being penitent; repentance SYN. PENITENCE implies sorrow over having sinned or done wrong; REPENTANCE implies full realization of one s sins or wrongs and a will to change one s ways;… …   English World dictionary

  • penitence — index remorse Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • penitence — [n] shame, sorrow anguish, attrition, compunction, contriteness, contrition, debasement, degradation, distress, grief, humbling, humiliation, penance, qualm, regret, remorse, remorsefulness, repentance, rue, ruefulness, ruth, sadness, scruple,… …   New thesaurus

  • pénitence — (pé ni tan s ) s. f. 1°   Retour du pécheur à Dieu, avec une ferme résolution de ne plus pécher à l avenir. •   Dieu absout aussitôt qu il voit la pénitence dans le coeur ; l Église, quand elle la voit dans les oeuvres, PASC. Pens. XXIV, 62, éd.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • PÉNITENCE — s. f. Repentir, regret d avoir offensé Dieu. La pénitence est une vertu chrétienne. La pénitence doit être sincère et confiante. La pénitence n est point véritable, si elle n est accompagnée d une ferme résolution de ne plus pécher. Une pénitence …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)