use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

re·gret (rĭ-grĕt)
Share:
v. re·gret·ted, re·gret·ting, re·grets
v.tr.
1. To feel sorry, disappointed, distressed, or remorseful about: I regret not speaking to her before she left.
2. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn: "He almost regretted the penury which he had suffered during the last two years since the desperate struggle merely to keep body and soul together had deadened the pain of living" (W. Somerset Maugham).
v.intr.
To feel regret.
n.
1. A feeling of sorrow, disappointment, distress, or remorse about something that one wishes could be different.
2. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone or passed out of existence: "We have both had flashes of regret for those vanished, golden people" (Anne Rivers Siddons).
3. regrets A courteous expression of regret, especially at having to decline an invitation.

[Middle English regretten, to lament, from Old French regreter : re-, re- + -greter, to weep (perhaps of Germanic origin).]

re·gretter n.

Synonyms: regret, sorrow, grief, anguish, woe, heartbreak
These nouns denote mental distress. Regret has the broadest range, from mere disappointment to a painful sense of dissatisfaction or self-reproach, as over something lost or done: She looked back with regret on the pain she had caused her family. He had no regrets about leaving his job.
Sorrow connotes sadness caused by misfortune, affliction, or loss; it can also imply contrition: "sorrow for his ... children, who needed his protection, and whom he could not protect" (James Baldwin).
Grief is deep, acute personal sorrow, as that arising from irreplaceable loss: "Grief fills the room up of my absent child, / Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me" (Shakespeare).
Anguish implies agonizing, excruciating mental pain: "I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement" (Abraham Lincoln).
Woe is intense, often prolonged wretchedness or misery: "the deep, unutterable woe / Which none save exiles feel" (W.E. Aytoun).
Heartbreak is overwhelming grief: "Better a little chiding than a great deal of heartbreak" (Shakespeare).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.