October 29, 2012
- remorse (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : a deep regret coming from a sense of guilt for past wrongs : self-reproach
- How do you use it?
- "Down went Mac's face, and remorse began to gnaw at him again as he gave a great sigh . . ." (Louisa May Alcott, _Eight Cousins_)
- Are you a word wiz?
Remorse can be painful, so it's no surprise that the word "remorse" comes from a Latin word for an action that can inflict physical pain. What action do you think the Latin root of "remorse" names?Have no remorse if you chose answer B, biting! Guilt and regret are often described as "eating away at" or "gnawing at" a person. The idea behind these descriptions is contained in today's Buzzword, "remorse." "Remorse" comes from the Latin word "remorsus," from the verb "remordere," meaning "to bite again," which in turn combines "re-," meaning "again," and "mordere," meaning "to bite." In the 14th century, a monk known as Dan Michel of Northgate translated Latin "remorsus" into English as "ayenbite," "ayen" being at the time the English word for "again." "Ayenbite" didn't last, however, and English speakers adopted the Latin-based "remorse" to describe regret for misdeeds.