cas·​ti·​gate | \ ˈka-stə-ˌgāt How to pronounce castigate (audio) \
castigated; castigating

Definition of castigate

transitive verb

: to subject to severe punishment, reproof, or criticism The judge castigated the lawyers for their lack of preparation.

Other Words from castigate

castigation \ ˌka-​stə-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce castigate (audio) \ noun
castigator \ ˈka-​stə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce castigate (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for castigate

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

Did you know?

Castigate has a synonym in chastise. Both verbs mean to punish or to censure someone. Fittingly, both words derive from the same root: the Latin castigare, formed from the words for "pure" (castus) and "to drive" (agere). (Castus also gave us the noun caste, meaning "social class or rank.") Another verb derived from castigare is chasten, which can also mean "to discipline by punishment" but more commonly means "to subdue or make humble" (as in "chastened by his foolish error"). Castigate is the youngest of the three verbs in English, dating from the early 17th century, while chasten dates to the early 16th century and chastise has been found in use as far back as the 14th.

Examples of castigate in a Sentence

The author castigated the prime minister as an ineffective leader. castigated him for his constant tardiness
Recent Examples on the Web Sotomayor went even further than Roberts to castigate the majority. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 10 Dec. 2021 In Birmingham’s election, Baller used his pre-election email to castigate two candidates running in the city’s recent election, one of whom is Jewish, and to name wealthy Jewish residents of Birmingham as their principal campaign funders. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, 11 Nov. 2021 Vanessa Bryant has waged an intense battle with the county, even using her social media cachet to castigate the sheriff and name the deputies linked to the photo scandal. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2021 Fox News also added its voice to the fray — but to castigate those journalists praising YouTube for its decision. Andy Meek, Forbes, 2 Oct. 2021 The irony, of course, is that the film makes a half-hearted attempt to castigate its protagonist for approaching Blackness in precisely this way. Carvell Wallace, The Atlantic, 27 Aug. 2021 More than 200 amassed in the park by 7 a.m. to castigate a planned fencing and closure of Echo Park Lake, which would lead to the removal of people who have been sleeping there in tents throughout the pandemic. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2021 Using this catastrophe as an opportunity to castigate wind and solar as unreliable is simply a veiled attempt to support an all-of-the-above fossil fuel strategy. Star Tribune, 21 Feb. 2021 My goal is not to castigate Fauci or to provide a testimonial to the enduring wisdom of Rubio. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 31 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'castigate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of castigate

1606, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for castigate

Latin castigatus, past participle of castigare — more at chasten

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Time Traveler for castigate

Time Traveler

The first known use of castigate was in 1606

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Statistics for castigate

Last Updated

26 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Castigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for castigate



English Language Learners Definition of castigate

: to criticize (someone) harshly


cas·​ti·​gate | \ ˈka-stə-ˌgāt How to pronounce castigate (audio) \
castigated; castigating

Kids Definition of castigate

: to punish or criticize harshly

More from Merriam-Webster on castigate

Nglish: Translation of castigate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of castigate for Arabic Speakers


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