- a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin.
- a penitential discipline imposed by church authority.
- a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin.
- voluntary self-punishment to atone for a sin, crime, etc
- a feeling of regret for one’s wrongdoings
- a punishment usually consisting of prayer, fasting, etc, undertaken voluntarily as an expression of penitence for sin
- a punishment of this kind imposed by church authority as a condition of absolution
- (tr) (of ecclesiastical authorities) to impose a penance upon (a sinner)
n.late 13c., “religious discipline or self-mortification as a token of repentance and as atonement for some sin,” from Anglo-French penaunce, Old French peneance (12c.), from Latin pænitentia (see penitence). Transferred sense is recorded from c.1300. Acts done to make up for sin. (See confession and indulgence.)