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penance (noun) voluntary suffering or punishment to repent of a sin.

When you do penance you impose suffering on yourself for a sin you wish to be purified of. A punishment you give yourself for a sin is penance. In certain religions people undergo penance as a purifying exercise, as an act of repentance.

  • A king of England had himself whipped as a penance for having been responsible for the murder of a priest.
  • He fasted for three days as a penance to repent of the wrongdoing of cheating on his brothers while they were alive.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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