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Com*punc"tion (?), n. [OF. compunction, F. componction, L. compunctio, fr. compungere, compunctum, to prick; com- + pungere to prick, sting. See Pungent.] 1. A pricking; stimulation. [Obs.]
That acid and piercing spirit which, with such activity and compunction, invadeth the brains and nostrils. Sir T. Browne.
2. A picking of heart; poignant grief proceeding from a sense of guilt or consciousness of causing pain; the sting of conscience.
He acknowledged his disloyalty to the king, with expressions of great compunction. Clarendon.
Syn. -- Compunction, Remorse, Contrition. Remorse is anguish of soul under a sense of guilt or consciousness of having offended God or brought evil upon one's self or others. Compunction is the pain occasioned by a wounded and awakened conscience. Neither of them implies true contrition, which denotes self-condemnation, humiliation, and repentance. We speak of the gnawings of remorse; of compunction for a specific act of transgression; of deep contrition in view of our past lives. See Regret.