An example of compunction is the feeling a teenager gets when returning to their house after sneaking out and realizing their mom is awake.
- a sharp feeling of uneasiness brought on by a sense of guilt; remorse
- a feeling of slight regret for something done
Origin of compunctionMiddle English compunccion ; from Old French compunction ; from Late Latin compunctio, a pricking (in LL(Ec), the pricking of conscience) ; from Classical Latin compunctus, past participle of compungere, to prick, sting ; from com-, intensive + pungere, to prick: see point
- A strong uneasiness caused by a sense of guilt: stole the money without compunction. See Synonyms at penitence.
- A sting of conscience or a pang of doubt aroused by wrongdoing or the prospect of wrongdoing: “commercial speculators and hired politicians who had no compunction about pillaging their country for personal gain” (Leo Damrosch).
Origin of compunctionMiddle English compunccioun, from Old French componction, from Late Latin compūnctiō, compūnctiōn-, puncture, sting of conscience, from Latin compūnctus, past participle of compungere, to sting : com-, intensive pref.; see com– + pungere, to prick; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.
From Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin, compunctionem (“a pricking”), from Latin compunctus, the past participle of compungere (“to severely prick”), from com- + pungere (“to prick”).