cas·​ti·​gate | \ ˈka-stə-ˌgāt \
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 \ noun
castigator \ ˈka-​stə-​ˌgā-​tər \ 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

Indeed, Paul Krugman castigated Mr. Nordhaus in 2013 for his belief that the optimal temperature increase is 4.1 degrees. David R. Henderson, WSJ, "A Nobel Economics Prize for the Long Run," 8 Oct. 2018 In the speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Pompeo castigated Iran's political, judicial and military leaders, too, accusing several by name of participating in widespread corruption. Will Lester, Fox News, "Trump fires off explosive threat to Iran's leader," 23 July 2018 The filing includes a transcript of Gaughan castigating attorney Gabriel Fuentes, who represents the owners of WBEZ-FM 91.5, at a recent hearing. Megan Crepeau,, "News media ask state Supreme Court to intervene in fight over secrecy in Jason Van Dyke's case," 11 May 2018 Trying to ignore these feelings or castigate yourself for having them can simply make these emotions stronger, Dr. Beresin says, which can result in a vicious cycle. Mattie Quinn, SELF, "10 Tips for Dealing With Family Estrangement During the Holidays," 21 Nov. 2018 Naturally, Human Rights Watch and other critics castigate Israel for failing to give the Palestinians more autonomy. Elliot Kaufman, WSJ, "The Palestinians’ Worst Enemy Is Their Own Leaders," 30 Oct. 2018 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an address in Los Angeles on Sunday, castigated Iran’s clerical leaders and called on other countries to join the U.S. campaign of pressure and sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "Trump and Iran Leader Swap Taunts as Sanctions Loom," 23 July 2018 Two lethal attacks in Kabul in January claimed by the Taliban, occurring only days after the suspension of U.S. aid was announced and after a tweet by Trump castigating Pakistan, have added urgency to the debate., "Is Trump ready to dump Pakistan?," 26 Mar. 2018 Political drama Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, has castigated the entertainment media for its purported role in contributing to mass shootings. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, "Here’s what we know about the links between video games and violence," 2 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for castigate

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for castigate

The first known use of castigate was in 1606

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More Definitions for castigate



English Language Learners Definition of castigate

formal : to criticize (someone) harshly


cas·​ti·​gate | \ ˈka-stə-ˌgāt \
castigated; castigating

Kids Definition of castigate

: to punish or criticize harshly

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