verb (used with object), re·gret·ted, re·gret·ting.
- to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.): He no sooner spoke than he regretted it.
- to think of with a sense of loss: to regret one’s vanished youth.
- a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.
- a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc.
- regrets, a polite, usually formal refusal of an invitation: I sent her my regrets.
- a note expressing regret at one’s inability to accept an invitation: I have had four acceptances and one regret.
verb -grets, -gretting or -gretted (tr)
- (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to feel sorry, repentant, or upset about
- to bemoan or grieve the death or loss of
- a sense of repentance, guilt, or sorrow, as over some wrong done or an unfulfilled ambition
- a sense of loss or grief
- (plural) a polite expression of sadness, esp in a formal refusal of an invitation
“to look back with distress or sorrowful longing; to grieve for on remembering,” late 14c., from Old French regreter “long after, bewail, lament someone’s death; ask the help of” (Modern French regretter), from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + -greter, possibly from Frankish or some other Germanic source (cf. Old English grætan “to weep;” Old Norse grata “to weep, groan”), from Proto-Germanic *gretan “weep.” “Not found in other Romance languages, and variously explained” [Century Dictionary].
Related: Regretted; regretting. Replaced Old English ofþyncan, from of- “off, away,” here denoting opposition, + þyncan “seem, seem fit” (as in methinks).
“pain or distress in the mind at something done or left undone,” 1530s, from the verb, or from Middle French regret, back-formation from regreter (see regret (v.)).