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I know you can say you were "super glad you did something," but I'm looking for a word that expresses this in nominal form, i.e. the opposite of "my biggest regret." (my biggest ___ ) Does a word like this exist?

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    You might like to clarify exactly which meaning of regret you're seeking an opposite for. Also it might help to expand your sample sentence to include a little more context. – KillingTime Jul 1 at 7:21
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    This is all a matter of a pinion. – Lambie Jul 2 at 15:27
  • I would nominate "finest choice" – Kevin Wang Jul 3 at 3:11
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    Opposites are always contextual. The opposite of "man" could be "machine", "woman", "monster", "animal", "boy", ... Similarly, you could be trying to express other kinds of regret. If I make a really bad gamble but end up winning against all odds through pure luck, I don't regret the outcome (since I won), but I wouldn't particularly do it again or think that I made the right choice by gambling. Conversely, if I lost against all odds on a good gamble, I could regret the outcome even though I don't regret choosing to engage the in the good gamble. That's a different type of regret. – Flater Jul 3 at 12:38

17 Answers 17

46

In the most general sense, the opposite of regretting something is to be proud of it.

To extend this further, the opposite of your biggest regret is your proudest moment.

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    Good answer. +1 A reference or two might be worth thinking about. – Nigel J Jul 1 at 17:58
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    Regret means you're sorry you did it. Proudest moment doesn't mean you're "super glad" you did it. – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 22:29
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    +1, but note that a regret needn't be a single moment -- "my biggest regret is that I never [...]" -- and a source of pride needn't be a single moment, either: "what I'm most proud of is that I never [...]". So "proudest moment" works in many cases, but not all. – ruakh Jul 1 at 22:49
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    The opposite of "proudest" would be "most shameful". That's very different from "regret", even though you can feel shame over some of your regrets. Pride and shame are about how you perceive yourself, they're not really about some action or choice itself in the way regrets are. If you're talking about a moment, pride would roughly be "I am good because of what I did or found out in that moment", shame would be "I am bad because ...", but regret is "that choice was bad", not "I am bad". – NotThatGuy Jul 2 at 10:13
  • @RichardKayser Just saying "X doesn't mean Y" is probably not all that helpful. Anyone who knows this already wouldn't need to be told that and anyone who doesn't would probably need the difference explained. – NotThatGuy Jul 2 at 10:19
39

I would say the opposite of 'biggest regret' is 'greatest satisfaction'.

Regret is what is felt if one is dissatisfied with an outcome.

Satisfaction is the feeling of achievement, of success.

2a: fulfillment of a need or want b: the quality or state of being satisfied : CONTENTMENT c: a source or means of enjoyment : GRATIFICATION

Merriam Webster

As noted in comment, the wording 'greatest satisfaction' accommodates to the OP's idiomatic wording 'biggest regret'. 'Big' is a matter of bulk, of burden.

'Great' is a matter of expansiveness, fulness, release.

This is the greatest satisfaction of my life - Shakira, UNICEF Ambassador.

Financial Times Interview

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    Probably worth mentioning that “biggest satisfaction” sounds wrong. Probably want “greatest satisfaction.” No idea why, but personally I feel pretty strongly about that. – KRyan Jul 1 at 17:18
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    Oh yes, I definitely understand why that’s in the question—I just think that this answer (which is great and I definitely agree) should mention that the example sentence won’t work strictly as-is. (Noting that “greatest regret” does work might also be worthwhile, in case that parallelism is being sought.) – KRyan Jul 1 at 17:30
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    Big difference is that "regret" is a feeling of disliking the results of one's own choices, whereas "satisfaction" is a feeling of liking the results of choices that may be either one's own or someone else's (or even just random chance). "Self-satisfaction" is a closer match, but still sounds awkward in the given context. – Darrel Hoffman Jul 1 at 17:36
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    Often there is no perfect antonym. Satisfaction can be a feeling that you have when you have been provided with something that you liked. A good meal gives you a feeling of satisfaction, and that sense of the word is not the antonym. However, satisfaction is also what you feel when you feel good about something you have done, and saying "one's greatest satisfaction" specifically picks out that sense of the word. And that sense is the antonym. It is like "regret" is Hong Kong and "satisfaction" is Argentina, which contains the opposite of Hong Kong but more as well. And that's OK. – Mark Foskey Jul 2 at 1:35
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    There is no exact antonym for regret as used in this example. There just isn't. So you find something close and use that. – barbecue Jul 3 at 21:14
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Three words come to mind.

  1. Delight;
  2. Joy;
  3. Satisfaction.

One phrase, which is not the exact opposite but is commonly spoken, is ‘My greatest achievement is ...’

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  • I think this is the usage that the OP is getting at. The "opposite" desired is of the individual actions, rather than states or the feeling per se. – Michaelyus Jul 1 at 16:17
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    Regret means you're sorry you did it. None of these words mean you're "super glad" you did it. – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 22:30
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    @RichardKayser: Not necessarily. It can also mean you’re sorry you did not do it. The words listed above can be used in different ways to arrive at the meaning that you are glad that you did (or did not) do it. For that same reason I mentioned that ‘achievement’ phrase at the end. – displayName Jul 1 at 22:56
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    @displayName I agree re sorry about not doing it. Re achievement, I get it, but IMHO it doesn’t address the OP’s desire for a noun version of “super glad you did something.” – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 23:08
  • @RichardKayser: I think I got what you mean. Regret is an extreme emotion. The ones I listed... 'Delight, 'Joy'... are more on the equanimous side. The words on the other end of the spectrum would be 'thrilled', 'exhilarated', 'overjoyed', gleeful', 'excited', 'animated', 'ecstatic', 'euphoric', rapturous', 'on cloud nine', 'in seventh heaven'. Maybe even 'hysterical', 'frenzied', 'blissed out', 'on a high', 'over the moon'. – displayName Jul 1 at 23:44
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From the definition of regret:

[Merriam-Webster]
1 a : to mourn the loss or death of
1 b : to miss very much
2 : to be very sorry for
    // regrets his mistakes

And:

It was my biggest regret.


In contrast (and with respect to "super glad you did something"), I think of delight:

[Merriam-Webster]
1 : a high degree of gratification or pleasure : JOY
    // children squealing in delight
also : extreme satisfaction
    // seems to take delight in the misfortunes of others
2 : something that gives great pleasure
    // her performance was a delight

Although it can be used with biggest, it's more natural when paired with greatest:

It was my greatest delight.

From the definition, gratification, joy, satisfaction, and pleasure could also be used—but delight seems to encompass all those senses in a way that the others don't.


In fact, according to Google Ngram Viewer, even regret is more commonly paired with greatest:

biggest versus greatest (delight and regret)

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  • Did you mean it is less commonly paired? – JLG Jul 1 at 13:34
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    No. Regret (as with delight) is more commonly paired with greatest. As the graph shows. The use of biggest is less common. – Jason Bassford Jul 1 at 14:18
  • Oh, I see. I thought you were comparing “greatest regret” and “greatest delight.” – JLG Jul 1 at 15:56
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    I don't think delight really works. It's usually an immediate emotion, while regret is something generally felt in retrospect. – jamesqf Jul 1 at 16:09
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    Regret means you're sorry you did it. Delight doesn't mean to me that you're "super glad" you did it. – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 22:31
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When we express our "biggest regret" it refers to an action (or, inaction) on our part which had regrettable results. Therefore, the best way to express the opposite result, would be: My biggest triumph.

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  • Regret means you're sorry you did it. Triumph doesn't mean you're "super glad" you did it. – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 22:32
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    Yeah well, "My biggest super glad," is hard to understand. – Oldbag Jul 2 at 3:40
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Regret expresses the notion that a prior decision or action turned out to be wrong, or would have been done differently if you had the knowledge you had today - it seemed good in the beginning, but turned out to be bad in the end. A word that captures dual aspects of the opposite of this is vindication, which indicates that a previous action or belief turned out to be correct or justified, after a period of doubt - it seemed bad in the beginning (at least to some), but turned out to be good in the end.

His investment in Enron turned out to be regrettable, but his early investment in Google was vindicated.

As pointed out in the comments, vindication requires a some sense of doubt, uncertainty, or opposition in the early stages, so it doesn't capture the general idea of "something you're glad you did", as it doesn't really apply if everyone agrees it was a good idea in the first place.

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    To me, this only really applies if the choice was seen in a negative light at the time but proved fruitful in the long run. – Darrel Hoffman Jul 1 at 17:38
  • @DarrelHoffman I agree, something that everyone expects to work in the first place probably isn't well-described as vindication. I think this fits even better as an opposite of regret, though, since a regret is something that seems good in the beginning but is bad in the end, while something that's vindicated seems bad in the beginning (to some) but is good in the end. It doesn't capture the generalized notion of "something you're glad you did", though. – Nuclear Wang Jul 1 at 17:48
  • Regret means you're sorry you did it. Vindication doesn't mean you're "super glad" you did it. – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 22:35
  • @RichardKayser Vindication means that the decision turned out to be the correct one in a rather objective sense, so it does lack some of the emotional component of "super glad". But I don't see how one could be anything but satisfied with a previous action that's later vindicated. It's not possible to regret an action that's vindicated, nor vindicate an action and still regret it - they are mutually exclusive, and express opposite sentiments about prior actions. A regrettable action was bad (you are unhappy you did it), a vindicated action was good (you are happy you did it). – Nuclear Wang Jul 2 at 15:14
4

I think the word you are after is achievement:

noun: achievement; plural noun: achievements

  1. a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill. "to reach this stage is a great achievement"

So you would say something like Completing that project was my biggest achievement at the company.

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  • Regret means you're sorry you did it. Achievement doesn't mean you're "super glad" you did it. – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 22:34
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    @RichardKayser actually... it kinda does. If you hear someone say “my greatest achievement was xyz” you can be pretty sure that they’re “super glad” they did xyz. Achievement is maybe not the opposite of Regret, but the terms “greatest achievement” and “biggest regret” are pretty diametric. It misses slightly in that (as pointed out elsewhere) “my biggest regret was not doing xyz” is pretty common and it would be surprising to hear someone say “my biggest achievement was not doing xyz” but not necessarily - “my biggest achievement was staying sober for 20 years”... – Jeff Jul 3 at 10:57
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I feel like the main component of regret is that one thinks about the past often and wishes it could be different. So we want a word/phrase that implies thinks about the past often and is happy with how it went.

So I propose:

fondness - "my fondest memory" or "I look back with great fondness"

Similar to that would be:

tenderness - "I look back with great tenderness"

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  • Regret means you're sorry you did it. Neither of these words mean you're "super glad" you did it. – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 22:33
  • @RichardKayser - You're not exactly putting up a true dichotomy with this objection (to every answers here I might add). Your suggestion of "super glad" as a measure of the opposite of regret isn't really justified - because you can also regret not doing something - the opposite then doesn't mean you are at all glad (you could be quite neutrally assured or content for e.g.). – shalomb Jul 3 at 9:52
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How about “contentment”? Regret is when you missed so the opposite would be you are content about something you achieved.

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    Do people talk about "my biggest contentment"? – KillingTime Jul 1 at 7:36
  • Regret means you're sorry you did it. Contentment doesn't mean you're "super glad" you did it. – Richard Kayser Jul 1 at 22:32
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Achievement or maybe accomplishment? Possibly fondest memory as well. I think a lot of it depends on the rest of the context.

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2

To regret is to 're-greet', meaning revisit and pore over the decision again and again. The opposite of that suggests completion and moving forward positively, so I'd suggest accomplishment.

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2

If regret conveys the state of mind I wish I had done it,

  • one contrary is I do not wish I had done it: relief and synonyms
  • another one is I do wish I hadn't done it: remorse and synonyms
  • another one is I do not wish I hadn't done it: satisfaction and synonyms

Depends on what one means for "exact contrary".

Not a mother tongue, though. Some of this logic might be unidiomatic, but the relationship between a state of mind in the present and an event in the past gives room to different nuances.

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1

As a single word request, I am unaware of any direct answer to your question where a word could swap regret in " my biggest regret is".

If you think about it, it makes sense that there is no single word antonym for regret, as regret is an emotion, and not all emotions (especially complex ones like regret) have a direct opposite.

If you regret something, that is just how you feel about it, you feel regret.

But to say that something is your biggest [opposite of regret] could mean a few things:

  1. You're very glad that you did it.
  2. You are very proud that you did it.
  3. You feel very satisfied that you did it, etc.

Therefore, English speakers explain in more detail when they are talking about past events, they specify if they're proud of the event, or if it was a defining moment in their life, etc.

I have personally never felt the need for such a single word because in context there is usually more I want to say about the event, like the aforementioned feelings about it.

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Assuming that regret is describing the negative reaction or aversion to the consequences of an action taken in the past, then an exact opposite word would be conviction which is a positive reaction of validation to the consequences of an action taken in the past.

Conviction - noun - a strong belief that is not likely to change, or the strong feeling that your beliefs are right:

[Source: Cambridge Dictionary]

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How about gladness, which is the noun form of glad. From Lexico:

glad: Pleased; delighted.

Your example:

My biggest gladness OR my greatest gladness.

I prefer the latter.

Gladness captures the nominal form of your "super glad" in a way other words don't. It's also the exact opposite of regret in the context of your question.

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    Regret means you're sorry you did it. Gladness doesn't mean you're "super glad you did it". It just describes a feeling of happiness. Gladness refers to the feeling itself, not to the thing that induces the feeling, so "my greatest gladness" is a poetic and non-standard grammatical usage. Even if you (incorrectly) use it this way, it doesn't capture any aspect of time or relationship to the past. For example, "my dog is my greatest gladness" just means your dog makes you happy, but does not indicate anything about your past feelings about your dog. Regret requires a time component. – Nuclear Wang Jul 2 at 16:08
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'My biggest satisfaction seems to fit well. Having regret means you are sorry it happened. Having satisfaction means you are glad it happened.

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I'm surprised happiness hasn't been volunteered? My greatest happiness, the great happiness of my life was et cetera. Regarding something as a happiness seems to be the opposite of regretting something. I dunno, it's odd there seems to be no obvious antonym.

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