Regretful describes the feeling of being sorry for something you did — or didn’t do — or something that happened. If you are regretful about how you treated your brother when you were little, you now wish you had been nicer.

Regret is a feeling of sorrow — wishing you could do something differently or undo an action. So, when you are regretful, you might feel frustrated, disappointed with yourself, embarrassed, or even sad. In fact, regretful comes from the Proto-Germanic word for weep, gretan. It can be hard to do, but the point is to learn from regretful experiences so you don’t repeat them.

Definitions of regretful
  1. adjective

    feeling or expressing regret or sorrow or a sense of loss over something done or undone

    regretful over his vanished youth”
    regretful over mistakes she had made”
    bad, sorry

    penitent, repentant

    feeling or expressing remorse for misdeeds
    see moresee less


    unregretful, unregretting

    feeling no regret

Word Family