3. A means of repairing a sin committed, and obtaining pardon for it, consisting partly in the performance of expiatory rites, partly in voluntary submission to a punishment corresponding to the transgression. Penance is the fourth of seven sacraments in the roman Catholic Church. And bitter penance, with an iron whip. (Spenser) Quoth he, The man hath penance done, And penance more will do.' (Coleridge)
Origin: OF. Penance, peneance, L. Paenitentia repentance. See Penitence.