Atone – Definition & Meaning

The term “atone” is an interesting word that can have various meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It is a word that is often used in religious contexts, but it can also be used in everyday language to express a sense of reconciliation or repentance. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of “atone” in detail.


The term “atone” can be defined as making amends for a wrongdoing or mistake. It is a way of making things right or balancing the scales, so to speak. At its core, “atone” is about taking responsibility for one’s actions and making things right.


The word “atone” has its origins in the Middle English word “at on,” which means “in harmony.” Over time, the phrase evolved into “atone,” which took on the meaning of “to reconcile” or “to make amends.” The word has been used in English since the 16th century and has been a part of the language ever since.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “atone” means “to make amends, to provide or serve as reparation or compensation for something bad or unwelcome.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “to make amends or reparation for an offense or a crime.” Both definitions emphasize the idea of making things right after a wrongdoing.


The term “atone” is often associated with religious contexts, particularly in Christianity. In this context, atonement refers to the idea of Jesus Christ dying on the cross to make amends for humanity’s sins. However, the term can also be used in a secular context, such as when someone apologizes for a mistake and seeks to make things right.


There are several synonyms for “atone,” including “make amends,” “make restitution,” “make reparations,” “apologize,” “compensate,” and “reconcile.” All of these words convey the idea of taking responsibility for one’s actions and making things right.


The antonyms of “atone” include “deny,” “refuse,” “disavow,” “disclaim,” and “repudiate.” These words convey the opposite of taking responsibility for one’s actions and instead, denying any wrongdoing.

The same root words

The word “atone” is derived from the Middle English phrase “at on,” which means “in harmony.” Other words that share the same root include “atonement,” “at one,” and “at peace.” These words all convey the idea of being in harmony or reconciled.

Example Sentences

  1. John apologized for his mistake and sought to atone for it by offering to fix the damage he caused.
  2. The company tried to atone for their poor customer service by offering a discount to all affected customers.
  3. Mary’s act of kindness was a way for her to atone for her past mistakes.
  4. The criminal sought to atone for his crimes by volunteering at a local charity.
  5. The politician’s apology was seen as a way for him to atone for his controversial remarks.
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