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.

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Other Words from castigate

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

President Donald Trump has cited slow inflation as a reason for the Fed to cut rates and castigated Fed Chair Jerome Powell for not doing so. Washington Post, "US consumers increase spending a modest 0.4% in May," 28 June 2019 Hollywood Westerns built from the assumption that the savagery of the frontier ramped up dramatic possibilities, but The Wild Bunch implicitly castigated all previous Westerns as far too tame. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Wild Bunch and American Disillusionment," 20 June 2019 Critics had called for removal of the statue for more than two decades, castigating it as a perverse celebration of the subjugation of indigenous people at the hands of European settlers. Dominic Fracassa,, "Judge quashes attempt to bring back controversial SF statue," 13 June 2019 Some readers essentially repeated my words about genes’ being insentient, others castigated me for pushing a metaphor too far, and still others even accused me of misunderstanding Dawkins’s idea. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Are Genes Selfish or Cooperative?’," 29 Sep. 2017 The entire Democratic and media establishment went into meltdown mode, castigating Mr. Schultz as out of touch and a menace to those candidates who might deliver the country... Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Clash of the Billionaire Politicians," 31 Jan. 2019 Republican lawmakers and even Trump have started to castigate Riyadh over Khashoggi’s death. Alex Ward, Vox, "Turkey’s unrelenting pressure on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, explained.," 24 Oct. 2018 President Trump regularly castigates Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and says the e-commerce giant should pay more in taxes. Lauren Weber, WSJ, "Amazon’s Wage Increase Adds Pressure for Employers to Boost Pay," 2 Oct. 2018 Former Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen was beloved by many and castigated by others for his support of nuclear disarmament, gay rights and broader roles for women within the church. Janet I. Tu, The Seattle Times, "Seattle Archbishop Emeritus Raymond Hunthausen dies at 96," 23 July 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

5 Jul 2019

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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

formal : 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

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