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verb pun·ish \ˈpə-nish\

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

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 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

  3. 2 a :  to deal with roughly or harshly b :  to inflict injury on :  hurt

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to inflict punishment

pun·ish·abil·i·ty play \ˌpə-nish-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
pun·ish·able play \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

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