Denver the Compunctious Dog
Denver the dog was seriously guilty of eating some kitty treats while his master was out of the house, and was feeling fairly compunctious when confronted about it. Compunctious is a word that means regretful, or the feeling of unease and anxiety caused by regret for a wrong action. Denver the dog felt compunctious for eating something he knew he wasn’t supposed to.
Compunctious means feeling regret, unease or anxiety because of an action that caused pain. Compunctious can also mean contrition or remorse for that action. The word can be traced back to 1595-1605 when it first became part of the common vernacular of the period. The most widely used form of the word is compunction, an adjective, although other forms of the word exist as well. Compunctiously, compunction, and compunctiousness are three such forms of the word compunctious.
Denver the dog demonstrated his compunctiousness by sitting in a corner and resisting eye contact with his owner. The other dog in the room wasn’t experiencing a state of compunction because she hadn’t eaten anything she wasn’t supposed to when her master was away. Denver’s state of regret was evidenced by his physical posture and way he held his head and any dog owner will be very familiar with his guilty face! Denver the dog was certainly feeling remorse for his actions.
The word compunctious can be used to describe people and animals, although it is a very old word not heard much in the present day. Compunction is useful for describing situations where an animal or person feels regret or remorse for an action they knew was wrong, or for an action they suspect may have been wrong in hindsight. Denver the dog probably enjoyed his cat treats very much when he ate them, but when his owner came home, he knew that his action wasn’t correct based on the rules he was used to.
Denver’s compunctious face and attitude may have landed him in the kennel for a short time-out, but maybe he will remember to leave the cat treats alone next time he is left unsupervised!