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

The report is the latest chapter in the story of Mr. Comey, who was castigated last year as part of a broader inspector general’s investigation that examined his handling of the Hillary Clinton email inquiry during the 2016 presidential campaign. Adam Goldman, New York Times, "Comey Is Criticized by Justice Dept. Watchdog for Violating F.B.I. Rules," 29 Aug. 2019 Some voters are castigating Democratic candidates about their stances on impeachment. NBC News, "Conflict of interest: How Trump has used his office to benefit his business," 27 Aug. 2019 Rather than castigate him, his professor acknowledged his viewpoints and pointed this young man on to more credible research. Jennifer Rich, The Conversation, "Talking about Charlottesville with alt-right students," 9 Aug. 2019 While stopping short of assigning direct blame, Democratic candidates castigated Trump for encouraging white supremacists with rhetoric dating back to the early days of his own campaign. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, "Critics say Trump foments white supremacy; aide says don’t blame him in El Paso shooting," 4 Aug. 2019 The Ridiculous 6, a spoof western, was particularly castigated for its stereotypical humor about Native Americans. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Adam Sandler Netflix Experiment Continues With Murder Mystery," 18 June 2019 The poll comes at a crucial moment for democracy in Africa after a December poll in Congo was widely castigated as a fraud and opposition protests have been bloodily suppressed in Sudan. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "Nigeria Postpones Presidential Election Hours Before Polls Were Set to Open," 16 Feb. 2019 Trump has been increasingly annoyed at California, castigating the state for limiting its cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Washington Post, "Trump continues to vent against California," 1 Mar. 2018 As a result, Shaqiri was castigated for his apparent lack of effort or interest in his side's decline., "Xherdan Shaqiri: From Relegation to Champions League Winner in 4 Short Premier League Years," 11 Aug. 2019

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

13 Sep 2019

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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 How to pronounce castigate (audio) \
castigated; castigating

Kids Definition of castigate

: to punish or criticize harshly

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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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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