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”).