What does penance mean?

Definitions for penanceˈpɛn əns

Here are all the 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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Penance

    pen′ans, n. repentance: external acts performed to manifest sorrow for sin, to seek to atone for the sin and to avert the punishment which, even after the guilt has been remitted, may still remain due to the offence—also the sacrament by which absolution is conveyed (involving contrition, confession, and satisfaction): any instrument of self-punishment.—v.t. to impose penance on: to punish. [O. Fr.; cf. Penitence.]

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.

Suggested Resources

  1. penance

    Song lyrics by penance -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by penance on the Lyrics.com website.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of penance in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of penance in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. H. L. Mencken:

    A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.

  2. Saint Francis Xavier:

    It is impossible to find a saint who did not take the “two P’s” seriously: prayer and penance. –St. Francis Xavier, Priest

  3. Barbara Hall:

    But penance need not be paid in suffering...It can be paid in forward motion. Correcting the mistake is a positive move, a nurturing move.

  4. Jamie Clark:

    The perpetrators of 2008 still need to pay a penance and must shrink balance sheets in so doing, we read job cuts as only one sign of the secular, rather than cyclical trend to permanently smaller banks.

  5. Aaron Kohli:

    The penance for a delay of the hike is a much steeper hike...That’s the balance the market’s been playing with, the longer the Fed stays on hold, the more risk there is that factors like inflation will build up.

Images & Illustrations of penance

  1. penancepenancepenance

Translations for penance

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