I tried looking it up and couldn't find the word with the meaning I needed, the reverse dictionary didn't help either.

What I found:

  • "redemptory", but from what I understand it's 1. old 2. sounds odd 3. doesn't mean exactly what I'm looking for.
  • "redemptive", but, again, from what I understand, it is mostly associated with Christianity + the meaning is far off, so it's not for me.
  • "redeeming" means "making someone or something seem less bad", so it's also not what I need, since someone seems less bad in someone else's eyes, and I need an adjective describing a feeling coming from within.

In general, "redeem" and its forms seem to focus more on redeeming yourself in someone else's eyes rather than your own.

Context sentence: He didn't know why he was helping her. After all he'd done, it felt right. ________, even.

Any ideas?

  • 1
    I'm hearing penitent. Anything fitting is going to be a tad formal compared to modern morality. Or cleansing? Jun 12, 2022 at 13:39
  • @YosefBaskin wouldn't that still describe how someone else looks/what someone does rather than how someone feels? I mean, you wouldn't say "It felt right, penitent even."
    – dee
    Jun 12, 2022 at 13:43
  • Check "self-consoling" , "self-condemnation" , "self-punishing" , "self-reproach" , "self-sacrifice" + similar words. I think "self-reproaching" is the best, with "self-consoling" coming close
    – Prem
    Jun 12, 2022 at 14:54
  • 1
    @Prem I'm actually looking for a positive adjective, as is said in the title, something that comes after doing the bad thing and after the guilt that comes with it, so "self-reproaching" doesn't work. Self-consoling doesn't have the meaning that I need, but it's a good suggestion in this particular context
    – dee
    Jun 12, 2022 at 15:36
  • Hmmmm, "Palliative" & "therapeutic" may work.
    – Prem
    Jun 12, 2022 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


You might use the gerundial adjective atoning.

to do something that shows you are sorry for something bad that you did or for something that you failed to do

“… it felt right, atoning, even”.

The corresponding noun is atonement. “He felt a sense of atonement”, or “He felt atonement”. “He felt right, an atonement, even.”

  • that's it! thank you so much. can't believe i didn't find this one earlier.
    – dee
    Jun 14, 2022 at 8:06
  • 1
    You are welcome. I sympathise. It is not always easy to know where you are going until you arrive :)
    – Anton
    Jun 14, 2022 at 8:46

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