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 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, while chasten dates to the early 16th century and chastise has been found in use as far back as the 14th.

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 Gaetz reportedly stood up to castigate McCarthy, but most attendees responded to his speech with a standing ovation. Grayson Quay, The Week, 27 Apr. 2022 Putin, in turn, may use the embarassing parade to castigate military leaders, demanding reform. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 2 May 2022 And Democrats still castigate Mr. Garland for not moving more aggressively to indict former President Donald J. Trump for trying to undo his election loss. New York Times, 25 Apr. 2022 At the United Nations, the General Assembly’s resolution suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council, a step advocated by the United States and its allies, was the strongest measure the organization has taken to castigate the Kremlin. New York Times, 7 Apr. 2022 Manville’s performance is the distasteful dynamo powering much of the film’s drama, but Leigh is always careful not to castigate or villainize, keeping the audience’s sympathies balanced through each character’s ups and downs. David Sims, The Atlantic, 26 Feb. 2022 Gunn became the prodigal son who never returned, and many English critics lined up to castigate him for running to seed—and to free verse—in America. Matthew Bevis, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Feb. 2022 Rather than celebrating Pence for sticking to his guns as a constitutional conservative, the Trump base of the party will castigate him for not single-handedly seeking to overturn the results of a national election. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 7 Feb. 2022 There’s been a tendency over the last few years for climate activists to go into rooms of powerful people, castigate them for not doing enough, make headlines and then be invited back to do it all again without much having changed. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 13 Dec. 2021 See More

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

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Castigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for castigate


cas·​ti·​gate | \ ˈka-stə-ˌgāt How to pronounce castigate (audio) \
castigated; castigating

Kids Definition of castigate

: to punish or criticize harshly

More from Merriam-Webster on castigate

Nglish: Translation of castigate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of castigate for Arabic Speakers


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