Definition of contrite in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈtrʌɪt/
Pronunciation: /ˈkɒntrʌɪt/


Feeling or expressing remorse at the recognition that one has done wrong: a contrite tone
More example sentences
  • I am truly contrite, penitent, repentant, remorseful and steeped in the tears of my regretfulness.
  • It was a dramatic change in tone, a contrite president uncharacteristically admitting a major failure.
  • It was striking, although its tone was less contrite than last week's recantation.
remorseful, repentant, penitent, regretful, full of regret, sorry, apologetic, self-reproachful, rueful, sheepish, hangdog;
ashamed, chastened, shamefaced, conscience-stricken, guilt-ridden, in sackcloth and ashes
rare compunctious



Example sentences
  • A man should pray with eyes fast-closed and head contritely bowed.
  • But as the firms began contritely co-operating with officials on settlements of the charges, investors responded rapidly.
  • There is usually a period of outright lying, followed by Harry contritely admitting that he has hit, kicked, pushed or thrown something at William.


Example sentences
  • And that's about all the contriteness you get from me tonight.
  • But his sureness and occasional contriteness stayed just the right side of arrogance and has probably bought him time with disgruntled party delegates.
  • 'I didn't even know I fell asleep on the couch,' she said with contriteness.


Middle English: from Old French contrit, from Latin contritus, past participle of conterere 'grind down, wear away', from con- 'together' + terere 'rub'.

  • The Latin word contritus meant ‘ground down’ and was based on con- ‘together’ and terere ‘to rub or grind’, also the source of trite. The ‘remorseful’ meaning of contrite developed from the idea of a person's spirit being broken by a sense of sin.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: con|trite

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