I would like to know if there is an opposite word for sin in English.

I mean, how could I say the opposite of

I committed a sin

other than using a negation?

  • 91
    arcsin? (just kidding)
    – fortran
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 11:32
  • 6
    @fortran: your user name makes it even better
    – Claudiu
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 15:10
  • 2
    @Claudiu Made more sense in StackOverflow :-p But actually, that's how my colleagues at the university called me xD
    – fortran
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 15:24
  • 2
    @fortran: I'd go for cosecant, myself.
    – Charles
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 6:09
  • 3
    Tell me how you managed to 'commit' it and I'll tell you what to call it. Seriously.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 11:30

24 Answers 24


English does not have a precise word for the opposite of sin in the sense you mean, so you'll have to be content with adjectives: the opposite of "I committed a sin" would be "I performed a good/virtuous/righteous/moral/meritorious  act/deed". (Note that the noun forms of these adjectives won't work: goodness has a very wide range of meanings; virtue refers to qualities inhering in a person and carries no connotation of action unlike virtuous act which does, etc.)

As you're writing for an Indian audience, the word you have in mind that's already familiar to your audience (puṇya) is a perfectly good choice to use. The criterion should not be whether a certain word exists in an English dictionary or not, but whether your audience will understand the word or not.

Further thoughts: English doesn't have have a word for the opposite of sin, because sin is a religious concept, and mainstream Christianity doesn't have a concept that's the opposite of sin; neither have English speakers found it necessary (yet? :p) to invent a word for the concept. In a non-religious framework for ethics, of course, there is no such thing as sin either; though certain acts may still be called unethical or wrong or by other terms.

I'm no expert on Christian theology, but it seems that according to that framework, one is born in a state of some sin, and although one can commit further sins (acts against God's commandments), one cannot automatically reduce the effect of those sins simply by performing other good acts. Judaism has a concept of mitzvah, an act that carries out a commandment of God, which may be an opposite of sin in that sense. The concept you may be getting at, prominent in Indian religions (Hindu/Buddhist/Jain/Sikh) comes from a different model, in which there's something like a moral bank balance (karma) in which you can either lose credit through sin (pāpa, acts against some cosmic order of right and wrong) or gain credit/merit through good deeds (puṇya).

All that is not important, but if by the opposite of sin you're referring to something like the latter concept as informally understood by your audience—with a slight theological connotation as something that brings merit to the doer—then the term puṇya you were thinking of is precisely the right term to use. Using a generic phrase like "good deed" may not convey the intended meaning unless the context is understood (such as in translations etc., where "good deed" and "meritorious act" are indeed used).

  • 1
    That's a very satisfying answer.Solves my purpose , plus now I know why there isn't any (real) antonym for the word sin. Also thanks to "Ray" for his explanation
    – Clyde Lobo
    Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 7:37
  • 2
    For what it is worth, Christianity does have a concept for the opposite of sin but the nuances and details are not remotely on-topic for this site. Also, the different denominations all bicker about the details, terms and implications... so, yeah.
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 17:00
  • 5
    Indeed, the Hebrew word mitzvah is exactly the opposite of "sin" as the words are understood by Jews. Interestingly, there are several Hebrew words for "sin" (of various types) but only one for its opposite. I imagine Woody Allen would say something entertaining about that.
    – Jeffiekins
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 15:40
  • Speaking of different denominations bickering about the details, the idea that everyone is born in a state of sin is only accepted by some sects; Many protestants reject the idea. Other than that, this is a great answer.
    – user867
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 3:43

The antonym of sin is good deed. Sin means an action that is against religious rules, so the antonym should be in accordance with religion.

According to many dictionaries virtue is the antonym of vice. Because it's referring to something moral rather being religious.


The closest that I can think of is virtue. The Roman Catholic Church contrasts the Seven Deadly Sins with the Seven Cardinal Virtues. However, the word is not normally used by itself to describe a particular act, only a trait (or set of traits: patience, prudence, courage, etc.). It is commonly used in the adjectival form "virtuous", so you could say:

I have committed a sin.

I have performed a virtuous act.

  • 4
    I think virtue is the antonym of vice rather than being an antonym for sin.
    – Manoochehr
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 9:13

I've seen mitzva used.

  • 7
    @Clyde: It's present in many dictionaries (usually under the spelling mitzvah) with a variety of meanings. The criterion for using a word isn't really whether it's present in a dictionary, but whether your audience understands it. If you're writing for a primarily Jewish religious audience, then it's fine, and it would have been fine even if it hadn't been in any dictionary. Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 8:10
  • 2
    The NOAD reports mitzvah.
    – apaderno
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 8:11
  • 1
    @ShreevatsaR well my audience would be Indian , and that's what made me ask this question as there is a word in Hindi (derived from Sanskrit) puṇya which is the opposite of sin
    – Clyde Lobo
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 9:14
  • 2
    @Clyde: Yeah, I saw your location as India in your profile and that's why I mentioned puṇya in my answer. :-) If your audience will understand it, then it's fine to use. Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 9:30
  • 3
    Mitzvah (מצווה) literally means "commandment." It has come to mean, mostly in Ashkenazi and American Jewish usage to mean "a good deed." At the risk of making a mess of mixing Christian and Jewish theological concepts, I presume that to sin in Christianity is to go against G-d's commandments. So it might be a suitable antonym. (And because the Hebrew ends in a ה, I can't imagine transliterating it as "Mitzva", @msh210)
    – ראובן
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 13:51

In religious contexts that I'm aware of you can't "pay forward" on sins. Therefore, any opposite for "sin" would have to be considered as a repeal or undoing of that sin.

For "sin" used as a noun, some suitable antonyms would be "atonement" or "expiation." The drawbacks of these two terms is that they are often interpreted as acts of personal suffering rather than acts of morally good deeds.

  • First I committed a sin,
  • Then I made an atonement.

For the verb "sin", the verb forms of the aforementioned terms, "atone" and "expiate," should be equally suitable. Another verb that can be used as the undoing of sin is "redeem," as in:

  • "...and don't come back until you've redeemed yourself!"

Of course, all of these terms can be used outside of the context of religious sin, so how much "oppositeness" they have with "sin" would depend on the context in which they're used.


Sin is so completely tied into religious terms and meanings that finding a direct opposite begins to imply much about how you are using the word. Opposites of sin do very much exist but most of them require a specific form of the word:

This is a sinful act / This is a holy act

I am full of sin / I am full of righteousness

But the most direct opposite comes from the old term indulgences:

In Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. (Wikipedia)

Actually using the word in a sentence is a bit of a pain and really won't satisfy a daily opposite of sin:

I committed a sin / I was granted an indulgence

Part of the problem comes from the source of the act being performed: Humans perform sins; God or the church performs indulgences.

The next best term would be repentance:

I committed a sin / I performed a repentance

Likewise with penance:

I committed a sin / I performed penance

Absolution, protection or recovery from sin is also implied in the religious terms sanctification, justification, baptism, confession, forgiveness, holiness, righteousness. These terms hold their own chapters in Christian theology and to even summarize them here would be futile.

All of these, however, come at this term from the religious angle. If you simply want an antonym for "bad deed" you will find a similar difficultly in looking for an antonym for "crime." Any number of phrases will work but a specific word for the opposite of a crime will be hard to find because the concept of a crime doesn't really have an opposite.

I committed a legal act

I committed a good act

I committed a virtuous act

The best I can think of is referring to a character trait as the action itself:

I performed a kindness

I performed an altruism

These have mixed success.

  • "a kindness" or "a goodness" probably have the best fit for a one-word solution, but it depends where it's used.
    – Andrew Vit
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 4:17
  • Didn't indulgences go the way of the dodo a few centuries back?
    – user867
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 3:47

There is a bit of a theological question here. In my religious tradition, sin is something we do (or fail to do) that brings us guilt before God, but there is nothing we can do that can remove that guilt or restore that relationship. That's why Christ came and died for our sins—to remove that guilt which we could not by our own good works, and to turn away God's wrath.

  • 2
    I don't mean to get so deep here. The question sort of begs it, though.
    – Ray
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 12:56
  • 1
    The opposite of sinful would be good (as in καλος), holy or maybe just.
    – Trinidad
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 13:33
  • I really liked your answer.
    – Clyde Lobo
    Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 7:28

I believe that the word 'sin' has links to archery in the sense of missing the bulls-eye. So, in that sense, hitting the bulls-eye might be the opposite term. Just not sure if the meaning comes across as you intend :-)

  • 4
    The Greek word ἁμαρτία (hamartia) is one of the words used in the Bible for sin, and it does come from archery as paul mentioned. I don't believe the connection remains in English, however.
    – Ray
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 12:55
  • Wait, paul is telling us this?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 13:30

The antonym of sin is virtue.

In the sentence you reported, I am not sure you can replace sin with virtue, though.

  • This was my thought on reading the title, as well, but it does not work in the context the OP suggests. Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 17:58
  • ...not quite but close, I would think. The nouns, Virtue and vice, seem more the opposites. Virtue as well as vice can manifest as a sin or as sinning, which is not so simplistic a word or concept as some would have us believe. Also sin is closely connected with belief, as in an independent guiding principle that ought to lead one away from error. Belief is not a necessary component of all virtues. Just an idea to think about; not trying to sin you out.
    – lex
    Commented Nov 22, 2012 at 18:42

In Islam, there is the concept of a "sin" and a "charity." At the end of days, your sins and charities are tallied and the math worked out. Generally speaking, a charity is any good dead or deed that brings happiness. Interesting, pleasuring your wife is considered a charity.


I agree with Paul though I’d render the word as ‘perfection’ (bull’s-eye being simply one type of perfection). Sinning in many religious traditions is simply not living up the standard, not getting it right, or falling short.


Sin is primarily a religious concept, which takes various forms. As noted above, certain religious traditions have an antonymous concept (such as mitzvah in judaism), but there is no generally accepted term, because there is no generally accepted concept.

In the judaeo-christian context, perhaps the best approach is to translate mitzvah into English; I understand that the closest translation is "duty".

Essentially, this is the wrong question to ask, because English is used by many, many sub-cultures which all have very, very different ideas about this area.


If we're using the Biblical definition of sin, then sin is transgression of God's law. Many versions translate the Greek as "Lawlessness".


Therefore, the opposite would be "lawful".

Interpreted another way, sin can also be said to be disobedience to God's law, so "Obedience" is another possible antonym for sin.


Sin can be both a verb and a noun. The opposite of the verb sin is Repent or atoned.


First I sinned, then I repented so now God loves me - yea!

The opposite of the noun form can be any of the following: good deed, help, redeemed, basically anything that means you did a good thing.


I made up for that sin by doing a good deed, now God owes me one, right?


If you have sinned, then you have done something wrong. If you have done nothing wrong then you have behaved.

conduct oneself in accordance with the accepted norms of a society or group.

If you want a Christian twist then I would add moral.


It depends what you mean by sin.

If you are using sin to mean disobedience to one of the Ten Commandments or to 'God's laws', then the opposite must be obedience to or obeying the Commandments.

If you are using sin to mean 'doing wrong' in general, then it depends how you perceive 'right and wrong'. If you perceive them as 'black and white', i.e. one or the other, then the opposite must be right.

But if you perceive 'right and wrong' as two extremes with a whole area in the middle that is neither right nor wrong, then there can be no exact opposite. For example, it might be considered wrong (sinful) to hate your neighbour, and right to love you neighbour. But you might actually be indifferent to your neighbour, neither loving nor hating him. In that case, are you sinning; are you doing right or wrong: or are you in the middle?

  • You could argue that "to love thy neighbour" is such a herculean task that anyone who truly achieves this status is doing the exact opposite of sinning. And if you are indifferent to the plight of your neighbour isn't that almost as bad as someone who causes that suffering?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 16:58
  • 1. Yes - the 2 extremes are opposites. 2. I didn't say "indifferent to the plight of ..." - you can 'rub along' with your neighbour, neither loving nor hating them, but still be concerned & help them when they are in difficulty. But really I was just making a point and using a not very good example, that there may not be a absolute opposite of "sin". (The neighbour example is not from personal experience!) And maybe you're playing 'devil's advocate'?
    – TrevorD
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 17:44
  • Yes, didn't you hear my tail swishing back then? :) But to be indifferent is nevertheless a selfish act, (I wouldn't go as far as calling it a sin) for example, how would you know if your "neighbour" were in difficulty if you didn't take an interest?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 17:59

The English word "sin" is very much tied up in Christian ideology. In traditional Christian belief human beings are inherently sinful, and can't help but sin continually. As such, there really isn't much need for an opposite because the opposite condition does not (in fact, can not) exist.

  • I don't know what church you belong to, but this certainly isn't the position of mainstream western (or as far as I know, eastern) churches.
    – Marcin
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 22:56
  • 3
    No, in fact it is. There's good discussion of this issue here: drurywriting.com/keith/augustine.conception.of.sin.htm . According to the author, Wesleyan traditions don't nessecarily believe that, but they are rather unique that way. My personal faith happens to be Wesleyan, but you'll notice I was talking about traditional Christian ideology, not mine (or in fact anybody else today's).
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 14:23
  • Err, no. If you were correct, there would be no need for the religious use of the word "grace" to refer a state absent sin.
    – Marcin
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 15:18
  • 4
    @Marcin - Dunno where you got that. Grace is defined by most Christians as something along the lines of "God's unmerited favor". It generally has nothing to do with sin whatsoever, but rather as something separate that perahps interacts with sin. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_in_Christianity. I'd also suggest looking over en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_depravity. Perhaps you don't agree with them, but these are very common doctrines of Christian theology going back at least to St. Augustine.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 18:34
  • @Marcin - BTW: If you have further theological issues with stuff I said, might I suggest taking them to christianity.stackexchange.com ? I have an account there too, and they'd probably be much more generally useful there than in comments on a question about antonyms here.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 18:40

Although it comes from a different tradition, I would say "Dharma"


Abide, I say this because you are following a rule. If there were no rule, then you could not sin.

To abide, comply, follow.

There is no direct antonym e.g. unsin etc.

  • To atone, that would be the opposite of "to sin".
    – Arthor
    Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 19:22

This comes up in Bible translation. "Righteousness" is the correct antonym in many contexts:

  • "It is considered a sin"
  • "It is considered a righteousness"

This is a close parallel to the Hebrew "tzedek" or "tzdaka", with the same root.


The Hebrew word mitzvah, which combines "commandment" and "good deed", is the opposite of sin in that language. There isn't a single word in English with the same nuance.


I feel the opposite of Sin is " Heavenly deed". Sinners go to hell and people who does good deeds and obtain " Punya" ( Indian opposite word for Sin) will go to Heaven. Good and Ban are are set by each society differently. Some societies view Homosexuality is sin and some view it opposite. How can one define, good or bad, but what ever society or parts of the Country set is decisive factor. Some tribal areas Smoking etc, is natural and legal for them, but not in certain areas. One can not set the exact meanings for Beauty, wind or smell, as how one perceives. Good virtues or deeds is how the particular place or part of the World set the rules and view. Even the above words Heaven or Hell are also if one believes


The opposite of sin, or to be free from sin, or wrong, is to be blameless, or without sin:

Impeccant a. Sinless; impeccable. --Byron. [1913 Webster]

Notably, sin is a religious and not a secular, and the concept is based on being in full communion with God. The action of doing good deeds does not make one without sin, not addresses the communion itself. Perhaps this contradiction is best understood in the example of a mobster who kills without impunity but yet is adored for their generosity within their community

  • 1
    OP is asking about acts of sin, not the condition of sin, sinfulness, fallenness, etc.
    – choster
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 14:00
  • @choster, the OP asked: "I would like to know if there is an opposite word for sin in English...I mean, how could I say the opposite of 'I committed a sin'...?" -there is only one word (exclusive of Latin) for this concept. To be 'without sin' is best explained by a theologian with patience
    – Third News
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 14:09
  • This does not answer the question.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 1:25

My action was without error.

I erred not.

I acted faultlessly.

...and so on, error (okay, existential error) being the essential substance of sin.

  • Some hand holding: the word is faultlessly. Seems to be sinful not to take heed and avoid topics prone to hysteria. Thanks for the validation points
    – lex
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 2:22
  • Possible alternative to faultlessly: meritoriously
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 23:44

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.