When you feel compunction you feel very, very sorry, usually for something you did to hurt someone or mess something up. When you feel no compunction, you're not at all sorry.

The noun compunction comes from the Latin verb compungere, meaning “prick sharply.” When you feel compunction, you feel a sharp prick of your conscience. The word compunction is often used in the negative in phrases like “without compunction” or "no compunction." You might say that the burglar acted without compunction when he stole your baseball card collection.

Definitions of compunction
  1. noun
    a feeling of deep regret (usually for some misdeed)
    synonyms: remorse, self-reproach
    see moresee less
    guilt, guilt feelings, guilt trip, guilty conscience
    remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense
    penance, penitence, repentance
    remorse for your past conduct
    survivor guilt
    a deep feeling of guilt often experienced by those who have survived some catastrophe that took the lives of many others; derives in part from a feeling that they did not do enough to save the others who perished and in part from feelings of being unworthy relative to those who died
    type of:
    regret, rue, ruefulness, sorrow
    sadness associated with some wrong done or some disappointment
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week