penitence (n.)

c. 1200, from Old French penitence (11c.) and directly from Latin paenitentia "repentance," noun of condition from paenitentum (nominative paenitens) "penitent," present participle of paenitere "cause or feel regret," probably originally "is not enough, is unsatisfactory," from paene "nearly, almost, practically," which is of uncertain origin. The basic meaning seems to be "missing, lacking."

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