Etymology
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remorse (n.)

"intense and painful self-condemnation and penitence due to consciousness of guilt; the pain of a guilty conscience," late 14c., from Old French remors (Modern French remords) and directly from Medieval Latin remorsum"a biting back or in return," noun use of neuter past participle of Latin remordere "to vex, torment disturb," literally "to bite back, bite again" (but seldom used in the literal sense), from re- "back, again" (see re-) + mordēre "to bite," which is perhaps from an extended form of PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm."

The sense evolution was via the Medieval Latin phrase remorsus conscientiæ (Chaucer's remors of conscience, also translated into Middle English as ayenbite of inwit). Middle English also had a verb, remord "to strike with remorse, touch with compassion, prick one's conscience" (late 14c.), from Latin remordere.

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scruple (n.)
"moral misgiving, pang of conscience," late 14c., from Old French scrupule (14c.), from Latin scrupulus "uneasiness, anxiety, pricking of conscience," literally "small sharp stone," diminutive of scrupus "sharp stone or pebble," used figuratively by Cicero for a cause of uneasiness or anxiety, probably from the notion of having a pebble in one's shoe. The word in the more literal Latin sense of "small unit of weight or measurement" is attested in English from late 14c.
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casuistry (n.)

1703, in ethics, "the solution of special problems of conscience by application of general principles or theories;" see casuist + -ry. Even in the earliest printed uses the sense was pejorative.

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obligatory (adj.)

"binding in law or conscience, imposing duty, requiring performance of or forbearance from some act," c. 1400, obligatorie, from Old French obligatoire "creating an obligation, obligatory," and directly from Late Latin obligatorius "binding," from obligat-, past-participle stem of obligare "to bind, bind up, bandage," figuratively "put under obligation" (see oblige).

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inwit (n.)

"Inward awareness of right or wrong" (a word formed to translate Latin conscientia), early 13c., "conscience;" c. 1300, "reason, intellect," from in (adj.) + wit (n.). Not related to Old English inwit, which meant "deceit." Joyce's use of it in "Ulysses" (1922) echoes the title of the 14c. work "Ayenbite of Inwyt" ("Remorse of Conscience," a translation from French) and is perhaps the best-known example of the modern use of the word as a conscious archaism, but it is not the earliest.

Þese ben also þy fyve inwyttys: Wyl, Resoun, Mynd, Ymaginacioun, and Thoght [Wyclif, c. 1380]
If ... such good old English words as inwit and wanhope should be rehabilitated (and they have been pushing up their heads for thirty years), we should gain a great deal. [Robert Bridges, English poet laureate, 1922]
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autonomy (n.)
"autonomous condition, power or right of self-government," 1620s, of states, from Greek autonomia "independence," abstract noun from autonomos "independent, living by one's own laws," from autos "self" (see auto-) + nomos "custom, law" (from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take"). Of persons, from 1803. In Kantian metaphysics, "doctrine of the Will giving itself its own law, based on conscience."
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conviction (n.)

mid-15c., "the proving or finding of guilt of an offense charged," from Late Latin convictionem (nominative convictio) "proof, refutation," noun of action from past-participle stem of convincere "to overcome decisively," from com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + vincere "to conquer" (from nasalized form of PIE root *weik- (3) "to fight, conquer").

Meaning "mental state of being convinced or fully persuaded" is from 1690s; that of "firm belief, a belief held as proven" is from 1841. In a religious sense, "state of being convinced one has acted in opposition to conscience, admonition of the conscience," from 1670s.

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guilty (adj.)
Old English gyltig "offending, delinquent, criminal," from gylt (see guilt (n.)). In law, "that has committed some specified offense," late 13c. Of conscience, feelings, etc., 1590s. Meaning "person who is guilty" is from 1540s. To plead not guilty is from 15c.; to plead guilty is 19c., though, as OED notes, "Guilty is technically not a plea, but a confession." Related: Guiltily; guiltiness.
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compunction (n.)

mid-14c., "remorse, contrition (for wrongdoing, as a means of attaining forgiveness of one;s sins)," from Old French compunction (12c., Modern French componction), from Late Latin compunctionem (nominative compunctio) "remorse; a stinging or pricking" (of the conscience), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin compungere "to severely prick, sting," from com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + pungere "to prick, pierce" (from suffixed form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick").

The Latin word was used in a figurative sense by early Church writers. Originally a much more intense feeling, similar to "remorse," or "contrition."

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contrite (adj.)

"broken in spirit by a sense of guilt, conscience-stricken and resolved to not sin again," c. 1300, from Old French contrit (12c.) and directly from Latin contritus, literally "worn out, ground to pieces," in Late Latin "penitent," past participle of conterere "to grind," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + terere "to rub" (from PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn").

Used in Church Latin in a figurative sense of "crushed in spirit by a sense of sin." Related: Contritely.

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