• WordNet 3.6
    • adj penitential showing or constituting penance "penitential tears","wrote a penitential letter apologizing for her hasty words"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Penitential (R. C. Ch) A book formerly used by priests hearing confessions, containing rules for the imposition of penances; -- called also penitential book.
    • a Penitential Of or pertaining to penitence, or to penance; expressing penitence; of the nature of penance; as, the penitential book; penitential tears. "Penitential stripes.""Guilt that all the penitential fires of hereafter can not cleanse."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • penitential Of, pertaining to, proceeding from, or expressing penitence or contrition of heart: as, penitential sorrow; penitential psalms.
    • penitential Eccles., pertaining to the administration of the sacrament of penance; hence, of the nature of penance or punishment.
    • n penitential In the Rom. Cath. and the Gr. Ch., a book or code of canons relating to penance and the reconciliation of penitents.
    • n penitential One who has undergone penitential discipline.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Penitential pertaining to, or expressive of, penitence
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. F. pénitentiel,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. pœnitens, -entispœnitēre, to cause to repent.


In literature:

Forward went the catechism, a penitential gloom succeeding the sinful indulgence.
"St. Cuthbert's" by Robert E. Knowles
This absurdly decorated gallant could stab a rival in the back or write a penitential lyric.
"The Facts About Shakespeare" by William Allan Nielson
How the mud smells; quite penitential!
"Robinetta" by Kate Douglas Wiggin
After six months' imprisonment, a compromise of the fine and a penitential declaration set him at liberty.
"The Venetian School of Painting" by Evelyn March Phillipps
Nola drew back, drenched with a sudden torrent of penitential tears.
"The Rustler of Wind River" by G. W. Ogden
Here Uncle Mo and Aunt M'riar shook penitential heads over his depravity.
"When Ghost Meets Ghost" by William Frend De Morgan
No man could surround his penitential cell with graces so profuse and pleasing as do some of these unfortunate women.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 92, June, 1865" by Various
In the body he discerns a penitential mechanism for the soul.
"History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, Volume I (of 2)" by John William Draper
An English rhymed version of the Seven Penitential Psalms.
"The Art and Craft of Printing" by William Morris
The penitential fashion just suited her.
"Black Diamonds" by Mór Jókai

In poetry:

Now to his bed of sorrow bound,
By penitential pain,
He seems, by this heart-reaching wound,
A purer mind to gain.
"The Fatal Horse" by William Hayley
Amid the penitential flock,
Seem'd none more bent to pray;
But, when the Holy Father spoke,
He rose and went his way.
"The Gray Brother" by Sir Walter Scott
Hushed is each doubt, gone ev’ry fear;
My spirit seems in Heav’n to stay;
And e’en the penitential tear
Is wiped away.
"My God, is any hour so sweet" by Charlotte Elliott
He woo'd, he wept, 'till all was won,
Then, as the spring-born zephyrs fly,
He fled, he left her, lost! undone!
In penitential tears to die.
"Bertram And Anna" by Thomas Gent
Let it flow on, till all thine earthly heart
In penitential drops have ebbed away,
Then fearless turn where Heaven hath set thy part,
Nor shudder at the Eye that saw thee stray.
"Third Sunday After Trinity" by John Keble
The morning light is breaking, the darkness disappears;
The sons of earth are waking, to penitential tears;
Each breeze that sweeps the ocean brings tidings from afar
Of nations in commotion, prepared for Zion’s war.
"The Morning Light Is Breaking" by Samuel Francis Smith

In news:

The Penitential Act reminds us of our sinfulness, of God's glory and of our need for forgiveness.
Park Slope Jewish Center hosts joint penitential service.
Do we really have to get more penitential .
Pointing out that there are seven penitential Psalms, Cassiodorus offered this as a reason.
But no matter where they were, religious Jews never forgot the dream of a return to Zion, greeting one another each year, on Rosh Hashanah, the penitential Jewish New Year, by saying, "Next year in Yerushalayim" (Jerusalem).