cas·​ti·​gate | \ˈkas-tə-ˌgāt \
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.

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Other Words from castigate

castigation \ˌkas-​tə-​ˈgā-​shən \ noun
castigator \ˈkas-​tə-​ˌgā-​tər \ 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, some three centuries after chasten and chastise.

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

Trying to ignore these feelings or castigate yourself for having them can simply make these emotions stronger, Dr. Beresin says, which can result in a vicious cycle. Mattie Quinn, SELF, "10 Tips for Dealing With Family Estrangement During the Holidays," 21 Nov. 2018 Naturally, Human Rights Watch and other critics castigate Israel for failing to give the Palestinians more autonomy. Elliot Kaufman, WSJ, "The Palestinians’ Worst Enemy Is Their Own Leaders," 30 Oct. 2018 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an address in Los Angeles on Sunday, castigated Iran’s clerical leaders and called on other countries to join the U.S. campaign of pressure and sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "Trump and Iran Leader Swap Taunts as Sanctions Loom," 23 July 2018 Two lethal attacks in Kabul in January claimed by the Taliban, occurring only days after the suspension of U.S. aid was announced and after a tweet by Trump castigating Pakistan, have added urgency to the debate., "Is Trump ready to dump Pakistan?," 26 Mar. 2018 Political drama Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, has castigated the entertainment media for its purported role in contributing to mass shootings. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, "Here’s what we know about the links between video games and violence," 2 Mar. 2018 The letter also castigates Comey for usurping the authority of his Justice Department bosses by announcing the conclusion of the Clinton investigation without seeking their approval, a criticism echoed by the inspector general last month. Eric Tucker And Chad Day,, "Trump lawyers call Comey 'Machiavellian' in confidential memo to Mueller," 7 July 2018 In those days, America’s allies routinely castigated the United States for being unilateralist and interventionist, and Washington criticized the allies’ free-riding tendencies. Brian Finlay, Fortune, "Trump Might Be Right About NATO—but for All the Wrong Reasons," 6 July 2018 Look at these headlines as many outlets castigated President Trump for his harsh language during a meeting on sanctuary cities but his words were wrenched out (ph) of context. Fox News, "N.Y. Times' mea culpa on FBI probe," 21 May 2018

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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Statistics for castigate

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for castigate

The first known use of castigate was in 1606

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More Definitions for castigate



English Language Learners Definition of castigate

: to criticize (someone) harshly


cas·​ti·​gate | \ˈka-stə-ˌgāt \
castigated; castigating

Kids Definition of castigate

: to punish or criticize harshly

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Comments on castigate

What made you want to look up castigate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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