verb chas·ten \ ˈchā-sᵊn \
|Updated on: 19 Jul 2018

Definition of chasten

chastened; chastening play \ˈchās-niŋ, ˈchā-sᵊn-iŋ\
1 : to correct by punishment or suffering : discipline
  • If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men
  • —2 Samuel 7: 14 (King James Version)
also : purify
2 a : to prune (something, such as a work or style of art) of excess, pretense, or falsity : refine
b : to cause to be more humble or restrained : subdue
  • He was chastened by his team's defeat.


play \ˈchās-nər, ˈchā-sᵊn-ər\ noun

chasten was our Word of the Day on 07/12/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of chasten in a Sentence

  1. chastened the child with five minutes of sitting in the corner

  2. the unexpected loss to a second-rate player really chastened the tournament's top-seeded tennis star

Recent Examples of chasten from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chasten.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

If you say you would "castigate" or "chastise" someone in order to "chasten" them, you demonstrate a good knowledge of the origin of "chasten" - all three verbs derive from the Latin verb castigare, meaning "to punish." The trio shares an initial sense of "to subject to severe and often physical punishment," but all three verbs are now as likely to refer to a verbal dressing-down as a physical lesson. "Chasten" (which arrived in English via Anglo-French chastier) can also be used to mean "to prune of excess, pretense, or falsity." This led to the more general sense of "to make more subdued," although the humility can be imposed by a humiliating situation as easily as by a strict taskmaster.

Origin and Etymology of chasten

alteration of obsolete English chaste to chasten, from Middle English, from Anglo-French chastier, from Latin castigare, from castus + -igare (from agere to drive) — more at act

Synonym Discussion of chasten

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

CHASTEN Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of chasten for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (someone) to feel sad or embarrassed about something that has happened

CHASTEN Defined for Kids


verb chas·ten \ ˈchā-sᵊn \

Definition of chasten for Students

chastened; chastening
: to correct by punishment : discipline

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