What Does "Contrite" Mean?


4 Answers

Aidan McCartney Profile
Aidan McCartney answered
The word contrite generally refers to an expression of regret or remorse, possibly arising from a sense of guilt. This is usually accompanied by a strong desire to make up for the situation that was the initial catalyst for those remorseful feelings in the first place. The word can be traced back to its Latin parentage: 'contritus'. The meaning of which is translated as 'crushed' or 'to be worn down'.

For an example of what context in which the word contrite can be used, all we need to do is turn to an article reported on the New York Wall Street Journal's website on the 3rd June 2011. The story focuses on the former mayor of New York City and bit part actor, having had a cameo role playing himself in the 2003 movie Anger Management starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson: Rudolf Guilliani. Having regretted not making more of an effort in engaging on a personal basis with voters in 2008, a  headline declared 'Contrite Guilliani Weighs New Whitehouse Bid'.

There are a number of words that can be utilised in place of contrite, such as regret and remorse. Other synonyms would include repentant, penitent, rueful or sorrowful. A useful mnemonic for remembering the definition of contrite is 'count (cont) the cash right (rite) or you will REGRET it',.Another much more eloquent and poetic way of reminding yourself of the definition is if you know a bit of Spanish, with the Spanish word con meaning 'with' and the trite could be remembered by the Spanish word for sad: Triste. So con-tri(s)te can be defined by the term 'with sadness'.
Bobby Ramsey Profile
Bobby Ramsey answered
Contrite is pronounced kon TRITE. It is an adjective. It means "thoroughly sorry for a wrongdoing."

Similar words are Penitent, Repentant, Humble, Remorseful, and Broken in spirit.

Opposite words are Callous, Obdurate, Reprobate, Incorrigible, and Intractable.

Here is a sentence that uses contrite:

"Although the child apologized for eating the special candy, he was in no way contrite, and hoped to do the same thing again, if he could do so without being caught!"

"Timothy McVeigh was not contrite for his actions of bombing the federal building in Oklahoma. In the courtroom he showed no emotion on his face. Even when he was sentenced to death, he kept a hard-set face and did not apologize or make any statements to show that he was sorry or admit that he had done wrong."

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