V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary


adjective, noun

Definition: (adj.) feeling or showing remorse for something; (n.) a regretful or remorseful person

Synonyms: (adj.) shamed, apologetic, regretful, remorseful, sorry, sorrowful, amending, atoning, contrite

Antonyms: (adj.) arrogant, defensive, stubborn

Tips: Think of the related noun penance, as it means "remorse for past conduct." Penitent describes a person feeling strong remorse. Penitent is similar to the word contrite. Penitent should be used to describe someone who knows they have done something wrong and are ashamed of the wrong doing. For example: "The penitent child hung his head low after he rudely cursed." Contrite should be used to describe the nature of a person's apology and whether or not it is genuine: "I couldn't tell if he was truly contrite when he apologized."

Usage Examples:

The penitent defendant broke down in tears after the verdict was read. (remorseful, regretful) adjective

The priest listened to the confessions of penitents all day long. (atoning members) noun

What you did was very wrong, but because you have been so penitent, I'm willing to forgive you. (remorseful, contrite) adjective

Her apology was rather weak, and I don't really think she's penitent at all. (sorry, regretful) adjective

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