The act of expiation is a way to atone for something you did that was wrong. It was originally used in a religious context, with expiation the way a person could gain forgiveness from a god.

If you've ever tried to make up for something you did wrong, then you understand the notion of expiation. The idea of atonement stretches across all religions, from Judaism’s Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) to perhaps the most famous example of expiation, the Christian doctrine of Christ dying to absolve the world's sins. You definitely don't need to be religious to seek expiation. People who commit crimes and even make small mistakes seek expiation every day.

Definitions of expiation

n compensation for a wrong

atonement, satisfaction
Type of:
amends, damages, indemnification, indemnity, redress, restitution
a sum of money paid in compensation for loss or injury

n the act of atoning for sin or wrongdoing (especially appeasing a deity)

atonement, propitiation
amends, reparation
something done or paid in expiation of a wrong
Type of:
redemption, salvation
(theology) the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.