atone for

Also found in: Legal.

atone for something

to make amends for an error. You must atone for the bad things you have done.
References in classic literature ?
The Beaver, who happened to hear the remark, Protested, with tears in its eyes, That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark Could atone for that dismal surprise!
No doubt, in the eyes of men, it has none; but I look on it as a slight expiation for a fearful sin of which I have been guilty, and if your Highness will deign to listen to my tale, you will see that no punishment could atone for the crime.
When the author came to revise the material, he found sins against taste which his zeal for righteousness could not suffice to atone for.
Yea, even when it commandeth itself, then also must it atone for its commanding.
Erlynne, a pushing nobody, with a delightful lisp and Venetian-red hair; Lady Alice Chapman, his hostess's daughter, a dowdy dull girl, with one of those characteristic British faces that, once seen, are never remembered; and her husband, a red-cheeked, white-whiskered creature who, like so many of his class, was under the impression that inordinate joviality can atone for an entire lack of ideas.
If he remained silent, might the mercy be trusted to atone for the lie?
The old gentleman, her father, I have heard, used to atone for his weekday sins with his Sunday devotions.
There are inconveniences attending such feelings as Marianne's, which all the charms of enthusiasm and ignorance of the world cannot atone for.
Thus we shall not even have the consolations of a full treasury, to atone for the oppression of that valuable class of the citizens who are employed in the cultivation of the soil.
She has a worse opinion of me than Aunt Jamesina, and she doesn't love me hard to atone for it, as Aunty J.
Lady Lydiard had, not long since, sent to ask her former steward to visit her; regretting, in her warm-hearted way, the terms on which they had separated, and wishing to atone for the harsh language that had escaped her at their parting interview.
I will remember - what I have said; - but do not you punish my presumption by withdrawing your friendship entirely from me, - or expect me to atone for it by being more distant than before,' said I, extending my hand to take leave, for I was too much excited to remain.
A report was spread, a few weeks later, that he was dead, and she now determined to atone for her disobedience by a life of labour and devotion for her father.
Her grandfather often called her `Beth', and her grandmother watched over her with untiring devotion, as if trying to atone for some past mistake, which no eye but her own could see.
A theft may be made good between men, a lie may be set right, a death avenged, but what can one do to atone for a treachery like this?