Definition of compunction in US English:

compunction

noun

  • usually with negative A feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows the doing of something bad.

    ‘spend the money without compunction’
    ‘he had no compunction about behaving blasphemously’
    • ‘Designed with love, it will be destroyed without compunction.’
    • ‘Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction?’
    • ‘You will kill without compunction and die without complaint.’
    • ‘The ability to trample the rights of fellow human beings without compunction is rooted in a belief that the needs of society outweigh the needs of the individual.’
    • ‘But I can, without compunction, recommend the film purely on its own merits.’
    • ‘She clutched the bundle of wood to her chest like a shield and lied without compunction.’
    • ‘The ‘nice’ party has been revealed as no such thing - rather, enthusiastically and without compunction, it destroyed its greatest electoral asset, a leader who had delivered its finest hour only months before.’
    • ‘For it is clear they would do the same again, both in America and around the world, without compunction or hesitation.’
    • ‘Hence his way of life can be sacrificed without compunction, and his protests go unheard.’
    • ‘V operates without compunction or mercy, and his brand of enforced anarchy is just as dictatorial as the forces to which he is opposed.’
    • ‘Altogether this provided an ideological charter for the most extreme action, without compunction or remorse.’
    • ‘In the marketplace everything becomes a commodity and all workers become wage slaves who can be fired without compunction.’
    • ‘How can soldiers, who are trained to kill enemy combatants without compunction, be decompressed and integrated back into civilian life?’
    • ‘The teachers themselves organise photocopying of books without any moral compunction, assuming that they are after all helping their students.’
    • ‘If the ancient human habit of taking what we want without understanding, without compassion, and without compunction continues unrestricted, it will lead us to extinction.’
    • ‘The truth is that the average consumer today has no moral compunction about beating the system.’
    • ‘The courts have no similar compunction about making injunctions to prevent torts and these have very much the same effect.’
    • ‘We call them sociopaths because they will cheerfully cheat or attack others without compunction.’
    • ‘He attacked the credibility of alleged accomplices who had turned state witness, saying there was little doubt that they had lied without compunction.’
    • ‘He has no shame and no compunction about throwing around baseless, false accusations such as liar, theft and fraud.’
    scruples, misgivings, qualms, worries, unease, uneasiness, hesitation, hesitancy, doubts, reluctance, reservations
    View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French componction, from ecclesiastical Latin compunctio(n-), from Latin compungere ‘prick sharply’, from com- (expressing intensive force) + pungere ‘to prick’.

Pronunciation

compunction

/kəmˈpəŋ(k)ʃ(ə)n//kəmˈpəNG(k)SH(ə)n/