v. re·gret·ted, re·gret·ting, re·grets
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).
To feel regret.
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).]
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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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:
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.