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verb pun·ish \ˈpə-nish\

: to make (someone) suffer for a crime or for bad behavior

: to make someone suffer for (a crime or bad behavior)

: to treat (someone or something) severely or roughly

Full Definition of PUNISH

transitive verb
a :  to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation
b :  to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation
a :  to deal with roughly or harshly
b :  to inflict injury on :  hurt
intransitive verb
:  to inflict punishment
pun·ish·abil·i·ty \ˌpə-nish-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
pun·ish·able \ˈpə-nish-ə-bəl\ adjective
pun·ish·er noun

Examples of PUNISH

  1. I think that murderers should be punished by life imprisonment.
  2. She was punished for lying.
  3. His parents punished him by taking away his allowance.
  4. How should I punish my child's misbehavior?
  5. State law punishes fraud with fines.

Origin of PUNISH

Middle English punisshen, from Anglo-French puniss-, stem of punir, from Latin punire, from poena penalty — more at pain
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of PUNISH

punish, chastise, castigate, chasten, discipline, correct mean to inflict a penalty on in requital for wrongdoing. punish implies subjecting to a penalty for wrongdoing <punished for stealing>. chastise may apply to either the infliction of corporal punishment or to verbal censure or denunciation <chastised his son for neglecting his studies>. castigate usually implies a severe, typically public censure <an editorial castigating the entire city council>. chasten suggests any affliction or trial that leaves one humbled or subdued <chastened by a landslide election defeat>. discipline implies a punishing or chastening in order to bring under control <parents must discipline their children>. correct implies punishing aimed at reforming an offender <the function of prison is to correct the wrongdoer>.

Rhymes with PUNISH

PUNISH Defined for Kids


verb pun·ish \ˈpə-nish\

Definition of PUNISH for Kids

:  to make suffer for a fault or crime <The child was punished for lying.>
:  to make someone suffer for (as a crime) <The law punishes theft.>

Word Root of PUNISH

The Latin word poena, meaning punishment, gives us the root pen or pun. Words from the Latin poena have something to do with punishments. A penalty is a punishment for doing something wrong. Anything penal, such as a group of laws, explains punishments for specific crimes. Punish and punishment also come from poena.

Synonym Discussion of PUNISH

punish and discipline mean to put a penalty on someone for doing wrong. punish means giving some kind of pain or suffering to the wrongdoer often rather than trying to reform the person. <The criminals were punished with life imprisonment.> discipline is used of punishing the wrongdoer but usually includes an effort to bring the person under control. <Parents must discipline their children.>


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