Definition of contrition in English:


Line breaks: con|tri¦tion
Pronunciation: /kənˈtrɪʃ(ə)n


[mass noun]
  • 1The state of feeling remorseful and penitent: to show contrition for his crime he offered to do community service
    More example sentences
    • A double killer had shown no remorse or contrition for murdering two drug dealers in his home, a judge said yesterday as he imposed concurrent life sentences.
    • It is beyond question that contrition or remorse are factors which will usually operate in the accused's favour; but not always.
    • Mitigating factors relating to the offender may include: the offender's age; clear evidence or remorse or contrition; a timely plea of guilt.
    remorse, remorsefulness, repentance, penitence, sorrow, sorrowfulness, regret, contriteness, ruefulness, pangs of conscience, prickings of conscience; shame, guilt, self-reproach, self-condemnation, compunction
    archaic rue
    rare sorriness
  • 1.1(In the Roman Catholic Church) the repentance of past sins during or after confession: prayers of contrition
    More example sentences
    • Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition.
    • It is not the same where confession and contrition are concerned; but satisfaction has to do with the exterior act, and here one can make use of instruments, a category under which friends are included.
    • In Catholic theology, the requirements are: contrition, confession and satisfaction.


Middle English: via Old French from late Latin contritio(n-), from contrit- 'ground down', from the verb conterere (see contrite).

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