Feeling Sorry?

Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but don’t hang your head in shame if you don’t know how to say you're sorry. Here’s your chance to atone for your shameful vocabulary.

Read the full article: "Sorry, Not Sorry: Playing the Blame Game and Remorse Roulette"
Read more...

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. apologetic
    offering or expressing regret
    He regretted it instantly and was profusely apologetic afterwards.Slate (Jul 10, 2018)
  2. ashamed
    feeling guilt or embarrassment or remorse
    Why was I so ashamed when my mum lost her money?BBC (Oct 3, 2018)
    being ashamed is much like being contrite, remorseful, or repentant: people feel ashamed when they do a bad thing. But shame is a double-edged psychological sword that often has more to do with needless self-hate than honest mistakes.
  3. chagrin
    cause to feel shame
    Munro was chagrined he wasn’t serving his country like his buddies in Vietnam.Seattle Times (Aug 30, 2018)
  4. contrite
    feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
    In her first public statement since dropping from public view four months ago, Ms. Fan offered a contrite apology and pledged to pay the fine to avoid a criminal investigation.New York Times (Oct 3, 2018)
    If you're contrite, you're sincerely apologetic and sorrowful about what you did. When you feel contrite, you're experiencing a state of contrition.
  5. culpable
    deserving blame or censure as being wrong or injurious
    “They are absolutely a culpable villain in this picture,” said Steve Owings, who co-founded the advocacy group Road Safe America after his son was killed in a rear-end truck collision outside Atlanta 15 years ago.Seattle Times (Sep 14, 2018)
    This word has to do with blame, but the deserved or justified kind. This word is often used in legal contexts. If lawyers think you're culpable for some wrong, that's not good, because there's probably a lawsuit on its way. You can tell word is part of the lexicon of guilt by the similarity of culpable to mea culpa.
  6. guilty
    showing a sense of wrongness
    Afterward I always felt guilty and recited the Repentance Psalm: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies.”The Poisonwood Bible
  7. mea culpa
    an acknowledgment of your error or guilt
    And in the album’s final song, the hymnlike “Violent Crimes,” Mr. West delivers an unambiguous mea culpa.New York Times (Jun 3, 2018)
    This Latin borrowing, found in English since the 1200s, has a simple meaning: "I messed up" or, more formally, "I erred and deserve all guilt and responsibility for my error or other transgression." Giving a mea culpa is a way of owning up.
  8. penitent
    feeling or expressing remorse for misdeeds
    Jay-Z’s “4:44,” released last year, painted him as a penitent, a man hitting middle age and engaging with his demons head-on.New York Times (Aug 3, 2018)
  9. regretful
    feeling or expressing sorrow or a sense of loss
    When we focus on the things we regret, such as failed relationships, family disputes, and setbacks in career and finance, we tend to become more regretful.Salon (Aug 7, 2018)
  10. remorseful
    feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
    He apologized again after Friday’s game, saying “The whole thing, it was a very unfortunate situation ... I’m just deeply, deeply remorseful for offending so many people.”Reuters (Oct 5, 2018)
    being remorseful — full of remorse — doesn't happen after small goofs, but rather after major transgressions and mistakes. Remorse isn't just guilt or regret; it's deep guilt or regret. Remorse is a powerful feeling that isn't any fun.
  11. repentant
    feeling or expressing remorse for misdeeds
    “These letters disclose a passage of folly and gross impertinence in my life. I am deeply ashamed and repentant.”Washington Post (Sep 16, 2018)
    To be repentant is to be sincerely sorrowful about something you did. When you're repentant, the last thing you'd say is, "Sorry, not sorry." This is another word with something of a religious connotation: most religions encourage repentance for sins.
  12. rueful
    feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
    His voice is rueful, but there’s no sadness on his face.Dread Nation
    The rueful are full of rue, but what the heck is rue? Well, rue is sadness, sorrow, regret, remorse, and other emotions that may make you want to eat an entire thing of Ben & Jerry's. When you're rueful, you're full of somber regret for something you did. Returning a library book a day late might make you feel a little guilty, but probably not rueful.

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.