I always think of connotation - REMORSE "1325–75; Middle English < Middle French remors < Medieval Latin remorsus, equivalent to Latin remord ( ere ) to bite again, vex, nag ( re- re- + mordere to bite) + -tus suffix of v. action, with dt > s; see mordant" Defined as a "deep and painful regret for wrongdoing; compunction." Remorse seems to follow a morally wrong decision. REGRET "1300–50; Middle English regretten (v.) < Middle French regreter, Old French, equivalent to re- re- + -greter, perhaps < Germanic ( compare greet2 )" Defined as alternatively "a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc" or "a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc." It is interesting that regret's second definition denotes a relationship with remorse but I have always thought that regret follows a decision that can be morally wrong but might just be a function of maturity. We have remorse for something that is unequivocally wrong and we feel regret for something that could be wrong but might just be stupid.I agree particularly with the last paragraph--that regret is wishing things could have gone differently, and remorse seems to be associated with a sense of guilt.
For me, regret means either feeling bad about something I get caught at OR a missed opportunity. Remorse is more connected to morality and is when I feel bad because I know what I have done is wrong (according to my conscience and internal compass).
Monday, October 31, 2011
Regret vs. remorse
I have actually forgotten where I got this from, but I thought it was an interesting etymological explanation of what I have always intuited about regret vs. remorse.