• IPA: /ˈpɛn.əns/


  1. A voluntary self-imposed punishment for a sinful act or wrongdoing. It may be intended to serve as reparation for the act.
    • Quoth he, "The man hath penance done, / And penance more will do."
  2. A sacrament in some Christian churches.
  3. Any instrument of self-punishment.
  4. (obsolete) repentance
  5. (obsolete) pain; sorrow; suffering
    • Joy or penance he feeleth none.
Synonyms Translations Translations Verb

penance (penances, present participle penancing; past and past participle penanced)

  1. To impose penance; to punish.
    • 1819, John Keats, “Lamia”, in Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, London: Printed [by Thomas Davison] for Taylor and Hessey, […], published 1820, OCLC 927360557 ↗, part I, page 6 ↗:
      She seem'd, at once, some penanced lady elf, / Some demon mistress, or the demon's self.

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