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 Twitter users castigated President Trump after reports that part of the southern border wall was knocked over due to high winds. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Washington Post reporter pushes back on misleading reports of border wall being knocked over by wind," 31 Jan. 2020 Numerous Jewish groups castigated President Trump this weekend over his speech on Saturday to the Israeli American Council, accusing him of using anti-Semitic tropes while trying to appeal to Jewish voters. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, "Trump accused of ‘dipping into a deep well of anti-Semitic tropes’ during speech to Jewish voters," 9 Dec. 2019 Often operating on his own feelings rather than scientific evidence, the president has castigated Democrats’ environmental agenda as unworkable and counterproductive., "Democrats respond by arguing that the president’s comments on climate — which are often false and frequently veer into the bizarre — are out of step with science and modern-day voters who want to protect the planet.," 24 Dec. 2019 Often operating on his own feelings rather than scientific evidence, the president has castigated Democrats' environmental agenda as unworkable and counterproductive. Author: Toluse Olorunnipa, Juliet Eilperin, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump attacks on wind turbines, low-flow toilets and LED lightbulbs set up campaign clash with Democrats," 24 Dec. 2019 Chinese leaders, on the other hand, have increasingly castigated the protesters as thugs and seditionists who have been encouraged by China’s adversaries. Russell Goldman, New York Times, "In Hong Kong, Daring Escapes From a Violent Siege at a University," 18 Nov. 2019 Nor was Higgs the only person to email Duolingo asking the company to add a particular language, or to castigate the developers for choosing one language over another. James Griffiths, CNN, "The internet threatened to speed up the death of endangered languages. Could it save them instead?," 4 Oct. 2019 The embattled energy giant has been repeatedly castigated by the public and government leaders for its role in the state’s devastating wildfires the last three years, and for its clumsy attempt at preventing them this fall with mass power outages. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "PG&E and Southern California Edison have turned off power to minimize fires. It hasn't worked. What will?," 1 Nov. 2019 Julián Castro heaped criticism on Biden for proposing that people should have to buy into the plan, and was, in turn, castigated by the media for this slightly flawed interpretation of Joe Biden’s verbal minestrone. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "Pete Buttigieg’s Health Care Plan Is the Worst Yet," 19 Sep. 2019

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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Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Castigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for castigate


How to pronounce castigate (audio)

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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