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.

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 The characters in the movie also take time to castigate others who don't use correct language. Angie Orellana Hernandez, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2022 Royal experts tend to castigate Meghan and Prince Harry for not following the rules, speaking out of turn, and widening the family rift. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 5 Aug. 2022 Carlson is primed to castigate the mainstream press—how many Fox anchors have made a living doing just that?—but that political dynamic isn’t coded the same way in Brazil. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, 1 July 2022 Opponents say Campbell is not progressive enough and castigate her for not pledging to keep super PAC money out of the election. Globe Staff,, 4 July 2022 Since Johnson, though, Republicans have largely been able to castigate Democrats as weak. Bill Donahue, Washington Post, 20 June 2022 Democrats would castigate Republicans for their opposition. New York Times, 25 May 2022 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 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.

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near castigate




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for castigate

Last Updated

28 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Castigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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