Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "penance" []

  • An act of self-mortification or devotion performed voluntarily to show sorrow for a sin or other wrongdoing. (noun)
  • A sacrament in some Christian churches that includes contrition, confession to a priest, acceptance of punishment, and absolution. Also called reconciliation. (noun)
  • To impose penance upon. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "penance" in a sentence
  • "Pereira (Portuguese), and Wuyka (Polish), we find in Matthew 3: 2, and thirty-four other places, instead of "repent ye" the words, "do penance," while in Matthew 3: 8, and some twenty other places, the word that should be translated "repentance," is rendered _penance."
  • ""_I say to you_, says our Saviour, _there shall be joy in Heaven upon one sinner that doth penance; more than upon ninety-nine just, who need not penance_, [5] and so the state of redemption is a hundred times better than that of innocence."
  • "In what he calls his "penance," the congressman has now written 10,000 letters to the families of fallen servicemen and women."