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 Ever since Huber’s death, Gittings’ social media feed had been overwhelmed with people writing to either praise Huber as a hero or castigate him as a criminal. Robert Klemko, Washington Post, "A mentally ill man, a heavily armed teenager and the night Kenosha burned," 3 Oct. 2020 Activists mostly chose to castigate the DNC, which in 2018 reversed a policy that had previously prohibited it from accepting donations from fossil fuel companies, and largely spared the candidate himself. Leslie Kaufman,, "Democrats Attempted to Make a Quiet Platform Change. Climate Activists Objected Loudly.," 19 Aug. 2020 She was accused of using her identity as a cudgel to castigate the Black Lives Matter movement and resist calls to take meaningful action against police brutality. Dominic Fracassa,, "London Breed: Black mayor. Raised in poverty, surrounded by violence. How will she handle police reform?," 29 June 2020 Some of the messages castigated police and others called to remember George Floyd, the man killed by police in Minneapolis last week whose death sparked the nationwide protests. oregonlive, "Downtown Portland a city of plywood after string of destructive protests," 2 June 2020 This happened as the president and his allies have castigated the social media platform for putting a fact-checking label on two of his tweets about mail-in voting on Tuesday. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Kathy Griffin placed in Twitter jail for tweet about stabbing Trump with syringe full of air," 27 May 2020 DeWine’s limited approach is unlikely to sate some of his fellow Republicans who’ve publicly castigated the governor for overreaching with his office’s powers. cleveland, "Gov. Mike DeWine faced pressure to rapidly scale back coronavirus restrictions. He didn’t cave.," 27 Apr. 2020 Among those castigating the Nazi display were groups that have previously criticized Sanders, for remarks by campaign surrogates and his shows of opposition to Israeli government policies. Time, "Bernie Sanders, Jewish Groups Condemn Nazi Flag Display at Arizona Rally," 6 Mar. 2020 Naresh Gujral, a member of parliament, wrote a letter to the home ministry castigating the police for inaction, reported New Delhi Television. Joanna Slater,, "Criticism of police grows after mob violence kills dozens in India’s capital," 27 Feb. 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

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

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