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Definition to fix or make up for a wrong — especially a sin (even if nothing can be done to make up for the wrong other than to show regret)

Archaically, atone could also mean to agree, to appease, or to reconcile.
  • To atone for sins is a common religious theme.
atone = make up
  • Some think Yom Kippur is the most important Jewish holiday. On it, Jews fast and pray in atonement for their sins.
  • atonement = the process of fixing or making up for a wrong
  • She made a genuine effort to atone for her behavior.
  • atone = make up (for a wrong)
  • Christians believe Jesus atoned for their sins through his sacrifice he completed with his death on the cross.
    Christianity - Wikipedia  -- (retrieved 05/20/06)
  • Approved forms of faith, practice, and conduct were laid down as consistent with orthodoxy, and deviation from these standards had to be confessed and atoned for by a prescribed form of penance.
    Dictionary of the History of Ideas  -- (retrieved 05/20/06)
  • We knew we had been guilty, but now we had a way to atone for it.
    Ayn Rand  --  Anthem
  • atone = fix or make up (for a wrong)
  • Our father had testified to her that Shawn had been cleansed by the Atonement of Christ, that he was a new man.
    Tara Westover  --  Educated
  • atonement = paying for sins
  • May I make the only atonement in my power?
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • atonement = payment to make up for a wrong
  • "A good beginning for a Solidarity Service," thought Bernard miserably, and foresaw for himself yet another failure to achieve atonement.
    Aldous Huxley  --  Brave New World
  • atonement = making up for wrongs
  • The living in incessant noise was, to a frame and temper delicate and nervous like Fanny's, an evil which no superadded elegance or harmony could have entirely atoned for.
    Jane Austen  --  Mansfield Park
  • atoned = made up
  • The thought was madness; it stirred the fiend within me—not I, but she, shall suffer; the murder I have committed because I am forever robbed of all that she could give me, she shall atone.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
  • atone = pay for it
  • That was why Okonkwo had been Chosen by the nine villages to carry a message of war to their enemies unless they agreed to give up a young man and a virgin to atone for the murder of Udo's wife.
    Chinua Achebe  --  Things Fall Apart
  • atone = make up (for a wrong)
  • This was some strange kind of atonement,
    Stephen King  --  Carrie
  • atonement = the process of fixing or making up for a wrong
  • This is the synagogue that young Rachel Shilsky walked to with her family and where Rabbi Shilsky led the congregation during the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement and fasting.
    James McBride  --  The Color of Water
  • atonement = making up (for wrongs)
  • The description of last night's orgy of atonement had been in all the papers.
    Aldous Huxley  --  Brave New World
  • atonement = making up for wrongs
  • Audrey told Dad that she had accepted the power of the Atonement long ago, and had forgiven her brother.
    Tara Westover  --  Educated
  • atonement = payment for sins
  • If a clansman killed a royal python accidentally, he made sacrifices of atonement and performed an expensive burial ceremony such as was done for a great man.
    Chinua Achebe  --  Things Fall Apart
  • atonement = the process of making up for a wrong
  • The premise of the message was that Shawn had been reborn, spiritually cleansed. That the Atonement had healed our family, and that all had been restored. All except me.
    Tara Westover  --  Educated
  • atonement = payment for sins
  • They were all crying together; and, intoxicated by the noise, the unanimity, the sense of rhythmical atonement, they might, it seemed, have gone on for hours-almost indefinitely.
    Aldous Huxley  --  Brave New World
  • atonement = making up for wrongs
  • Separate and unatoned, while the others were being fused into the Greater Being; alone even in Morgana's embrace–much more alone, indeed, more hopelessly himself than he had ever been in his life before.
    Aldous Huxley  --  Brave New World
unatoned = not having made up for wrongs
(Editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unatoned means not and reverses the meaning of atoned. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)

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