Origin of penitenceOld French from Classical Latin paenitentia
With tears of penitence, she begged for forgiveness for her act of betrayal.
- An example of penitence is being upset and regretful of something you've done.
- An example of penitence is a girlfriend begging for her boyfriend to forgive her after she lied to him.
First attested circa 13th century, from Middle English penitence, from Old French penitence, from Latin paenitentia (“repentance, penitence"), from paenitÄ“ns (“penitent"), present active participle of paeniteÅ (“regret, repent").