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 Rather than absorbing this horrific news, Frank takes the opportunity to castigate Steinbrenner about his decision to trade Jay Buhner. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Sitcom Dad Who Made Grouchiness Into an Art Form," 12 May 2020 Casting his vote Monday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin castigated the country's politicians. Andrew Carey, CNN, "Netanyahu projected to win Israeli election, but exit polls suggest bloc just short of majority," 2 Mar. 2020 The younger Trump brought the same swagger to the stage, ridiculing the media, thanking the firefighters who lifted a World War II veteran on stage and castigating a liberal agenda. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Officially a battleground, Trump plants his flag in a purple Arizona," 19 Feb. 2020 His critique aligns with complaints by Trump, who has a history of breaking with intelligence assessments by his own agencies, and who has castigated top former officials who investigated his 2016 presidential campaign. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "John Ratcliffe says 'experienced' intelligence officials 'have gotten it wrong' in defense of renewed spy chief bid," 29 Feb. 2020 The standoff seemed likely to pour jet fuel on the long simmering feud between Mr. Trump and Mr. Cuomo, who has castigated the president for his policies on immigration and the 2017 tax overhaul, among other issues. New York Times, "‘Extortion’: N.Y. Assails Trump Administration Over Traveler Programs," 12 Feb. 2020 In his decision, the judge castigated both the governor and the Legislature for failing to act. Jessica Huseman, ProPublica, "Who Has Emergency Authority Over Elections? Nobody’s Quite Sure.," 6 Apr. 2020 But after Trump castigated GM, then praised it, world headlines exploded. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "President Trump's shots at GM have left company insiders deeply troubled," 1 Apr. 2020 President Trump castigated the media for its coverage of the coronavirus crisis. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Trump: Media going 'CRAZY' over big coronavirus task force ratings," 29 Mar. 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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Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Castigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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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