Simple Definition of punish
: 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
Examples of punish in a sentence
I think that murderers should be punished by life imprisonment.
She was punished for lying.
His parents punished him by taking away his allowance.
How should I punish my child's misbehavior?
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
Rhymes with punish
PUNISH Defined for Kids
Definition of punish for Students
1 : to make suffer for a fault or crime <The child was punished for lying.>
2 : 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.
Legal Definition of punish
1 : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation
2 : to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation or as a deterrent
: to inflict punishment
Seen and Heard
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