- The definition of penitent is feeling or showing remorse for something.
An example of penitent is a child who is sorry he misbehaved and who apologizes.
- In the Roman Catholic religion, a penitent is a person who confesses his sins to a priest and does penance.
An example of penitent is a person who confesses to a priest and then, as directed, says five Hail Marys.
penitent definition by Webster's New World
Origin: Old French ; from Classical Latin paenitens, present participle of paenitere, to repent; probably akin to paene, scarcely: see passion
- a penitent person
- a person receiving or intending to receive the sacrament of penance
- penitently adverb
penitent definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- One who is penitent.
- A person performing penance under the direction of a confessor.
Origin: Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin pēnitēns, pēnitent-, from Latin paenitēns, present participle of paenitēre, to repent.
- penˈi·tent·ly adverb