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.

Keep scrolling for more

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, 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 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, "Protesters in Echo Park want city to keep homeless encampment," 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, "Readers Write: Lying in public, energy sector, driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, investing," 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, "The Importance of Brutal Honesty in This Pandemic Winter," 31 Dec. 2020 Ever since Huber’s death, Gittings’ social media feed had been overwhelmed with people writing to either praise Huber as a hero or castigate him as a criminal. Robert Klemko, Washington Post, "A mentally ill man, a heavily armed teenager and the night Kenosha burned," 3 Oct. 2020 Activists mostly chose to castigate the DNC, which in 2018 reversed a policy that had previously prohibited it from accepting donations from fossil fuel companies, and largely spared the candidate himself. Leslie Kaufman,, "Democrats Attempted to Make a Quiet Platform Change. Climate Activists Objected Loudly.," 19 Aug. 2020 She was accused of using her identity as a cudgel to castigate the Black Lives Matter movement and resist calls to take meaningful action against police brutality. Dominic Fracassa,, "London Breed: Black mayor. Raised in poverty, surrounded by violence. How will she handle police reform?," 29 June 2020 Some of the messages castigated police and others called to remember George Floyd, the man killed by police in Minneapolis last week whose death sparked the nationwide protests. oregonlive, "Downtown Portland a city of plywood after string of destructive protests," 2 June 2020 This happened as the president and his allies have castigated the social media platform for putting a fact-checking label on two of his tweets about mail-in voting on Tuesday. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Kathy Griffin placed in Twitter jail for tweet about stabbing Trump with syringe full of air," 27 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about castigate

Time Traveler for castigate

Time Traveler

The first known use of castigate was in 1606

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about castigate

Statistics for castigate

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Castigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!