Meaning of “penitent” in the English Dictionary

"penitent" in British English

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penitentadjective

uk /ˈpen.ɪ.tənt/ us /ˈpen.ə.tənt/ formal

showing that you are sorry for something you have done because you feel it was wrong:

"I'm sorry," she said with a penitent smile.
It was hard to be angry with him when he looked so penitent.
penitence
noun [ U ] uk /ˈpen.ɪ.təns/ us /ˈpen.ə.təns/

He expressed penitence for what he had done.
penitently
adverb uk /ˈpen.ɪ.tənt.li/ us /ˈpen.ə.tənt.li/

penitentnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈpen.ɪ.tənt/ us /ˈpen.ə.tənt/ formal

a person who is performing a formal religious act to show that they are sorry for something they have done wrong

(Definition of “penitent” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)