Share this entry

remorse Line breaks: re|morse
Pronunciation: /rɪˈmɔːs/

Definition of remorse in English:


[mass noun]
Deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed: they were filled with remorse and shame
More example sentences
  • These are often characterised by feelings of shame, regret, remorse and anxiety.
  • Very often he is feeling guilt or shame or remorse for something he has done.
  • There was no remorse or guilt in any of the conspirators, only pride at doing the right thing.
contrition, deep regret, repentance, penitence, guilt, feelings of guilt, bad/guilty conscience, compunction, remorsefulness, ruefulness, contriteness, sorrow, shame, self-reproach, self-accusation, self-condemnation;
pangs of conscience


Late Middle English: from Old French remors, from medieval Latin remorsus, from Latin remordere 'vex', from re- (expressing intensive force) + mordere 'to bite'.

  • The idea behind remorse is of regret or guilt that eats away at you, prompting you to repent. The word goes back to Latin remordere ‘to annoy, trouble’. The first part of the word, re-, adds intensity, and the second is mordere ‘to bite’. As re- most often means ‘again’ in a word, remorse was literally translated in Middle English as ‘again-bite’. There is a famous English religious work called Agenbite of Inwyt (‘Remorse of Conscience’) written c.1340. James Joyce used the expression in Ulysses ( 1922), thereby introducing it to a wider audience.

Definition of remorse in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive