Definitions for penanceˈpɛn əns

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word penance

Princeton's WordNet

  1. repentance, penitence, penance(noun)

    remorse for your past conduct

  2. penance(noun)

    a Catholic sacrament; repentance and confession and atonement and absolution

  3. penance, self-mortification, self-abasement(noun)

    voluntary self-punishment in order to atone for some wrongdoing


  1. penance(Noun)

    A voluntary self-imposed punishment for a sinful act or wrongdoing. It may be intended to serve as reparation for the act.

  2. penance(Noun)

    A sacrament in some Christian churches.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Penance(noun)


  2. Penance(noun)

    pain; sorrow; suffering

  3. Penance(noun)

    a means of repairing a sin committed, and obtaining pardon for it, consisting partly in the performance of expiatory rites, partly in voluntary submission to a punishment corresponding to the transgression. Penance is the fourth of seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church

  4. Penance(verb)

    to impose penance; to punish

  5. Origin: [OF. penance, peneance, L. paenitentia repentance. See Penitence.]


  1. Penance

    Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants. The word penance derives from Old French and Latin poenitentia, both of which derive from the same root meaning repentance, the desire to be forgiven. Penance and repentance, similar in their derivation and original sense, have come to symbolize conflicting views of the essence of repentance, arising from the controversy as to the respective merits of "faith" and "good works." Word derivations occur in many languages.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Penance

    in the Roman Catholic Church an expression of penitence as well as the sacrament of absolution; also the suffering to which a penitent voluntarily subjects himself, according to the schoolmen, as an expression of his penitence, and in punishment of his sin; the three steps of penitence were contrition, confession, and satisfaction.

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