discipline

noun
dis·​ci·​pline | \ ˈdi-sə-plən How to pronounce discipline (audio) \

Definition of discipline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order
b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
3 : training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
4 : a field of study
5 : a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity
6 obsolete : instruction

discipline

verb
disciplined; disciplining

Definition of discipline (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to punish or penalize for the sake of enforcing obedience and perfecting moral character
2 : to train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control
3a : to bring (a group) under control discipline troops
b : to impose order upon serious writers discipline and refine their writing styles

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Other Words from discipline

Noun

disciplinal \ ˈdi-​sə-​plə-​nᵊl How to pronounce disciplinal (audio) \ adjective

Verb

discipliner noun

Choose the Right Synonym for discipline

Verb

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

teach, instruct, educate, train, discipline, school mean to cause to acquire knowledge or skill. teach applies to any manner of imparting information or skill so that others may learn. taught us a lot about our planet instruct suggests methodical or formal teaching. instructs raw recruits in military drill educate implies development of the mind. more things than formal schooling serve to educate a person train stresses instruction and drill with a specific end in view. trained foreign pilots to operate the new aircraft discipline implies training in habits of order and precision. a disciplined mind school implies training or disciplining especially in what is hard to master. schooled the horse in five gaits

The Root and Meanings of Discipline

Discipline comes from discipulus, the Latin word for pupil, which also provided the source of the word disciple (albeit by way of a Late Latin sense-shift to “a follower of Jesus Christ in his lifetime”). Given that several meanings of discipline deal with study, governing one’s behavior, and instruction, one might assume that the word’s first meaning in English had to do with education. In fact, the earliest known use of discipline appears to be punishment-related; it first was used in the 13th century to refer to chastisement of a religious nature, such as self-flagellation.

Examples of discipline in a Sentence

Noun Sir Robert Peel is credited with creating the first modern police force, the bobbies, in London, in 1829, but the transformation of law enforcement, and especially forensic science, into a professional discipline was a haphazard affair. — Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker, 7 May 2007 Pragmatism became America's most important contribution to the life of the mind in the 20th century. Filtered through scores of later interpreters, it percolated across a broad segment of academic culture and influenced disciplines as diverse as literary criticism and legal theory. — Theo Anderson, Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2007 So the next fall I went to Hampshire College and began studying under Herbert Bernstein. Without him, I would never have become a scientist. He shamed me into doing the hard work necessary to be able not just to talk about math and physics but to calculate. Without that discipline, my story would have been very different … — Lee Smolin, Curious Minds, (2004) 2005 He stood erect, his bearing patrician, his dress impeccable. His face was stern and his pale eyes unsmiling behind his trifocals, like a man who had been called from important duties in the principal's office to administer discipline to an unruly classroom. — Nick Taylor, Laser, 2000 The teacher has a hard time maintaining discipline in the classroom. The troops were praised for their dedication and discipline. Some parents feel that the school's principal has been too harsh in meting out discipline. Keeping a journal is a good discipline for a writer. Verb The Army disciplined seven men for the incident, penalties ranging from pay-cuts and loss of rank to dismissal from the Rangers and return to the rank-and-file Army. — Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated, 11 Sept. 2006 Volunteers have to undergo a program to discipline the mind and cleanse the soul. — Aparism Ghosh, Time, 4 July 2005 The teacher then took me to the principal's office. There, the principal attempted to discipline me with an old Catholic school technique called "paddling" … — Lalo Gomez, Undoing Time, 2001 She was disciplined for misbehaving in class. He seems unwilling or unable to discipline his children. I'm trying to discipline myself to eat less.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Public officials have asked us to have some discipline here. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Craig Counsell believes there will be baseball in 2020, but 'it's going to be different'," 20 Mar. 2020 Engines traditionally used for game development have become bigger and bigger players in film and TV production in recent years, as part of the ongoing development of the virtual filmmaking disciplines. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "The Mandalorian was shot on a holodeck-esque set with Unreal Engine, video shows," 22 Feb. 2020 Because rigor in politics is waning, the old disciplines are not holding, old responsibilities are being thrown off. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "The Democrats’ Unserious Week," 6 Feb. 2020 Measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of molecules is the forte of the chemical discipline called mass spectrometry; the early implementation of this now common chemical technique showed that this mixture produced a transient mass-to-charge ratio of 5. Ryan C. Fortenberry, Scientific American, "The First Molecule in the Universe," 1 Feb. 2020 About a dozen protesters said a transgender soldier would hurt the military’s discipline. Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times, "South Korea orders dismissal of transgender soldier," 22 Jan. 2020 Five are new sports entirely (baseball/softball, skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate), while others — like basketball — see the inclusion of new events within the discipline. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Summer Olympics," 26 Dec. 2019 Atherton also hired Yen to lead the panels rather than using a scientist from the discipline. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Astronomy funder finds that gender diversity takes more than good intentions," 11 Dec. 2019 Since the early 1990s, when the discipline emerged, its members have unpacked all manner of political and cultural biases embedded in conventional management theories, which tend to be drawn from the works of a handful of white men. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "What if the foundational theories about how to run a company have been corrupted?," 9 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Neither of the two disciplined for overtreatment are affiliated with North American Dental. USA Today, "Dental boards rarely punish dentists for unnecessary treatment," 19 Mar. 2020 Earlier this month, Mexico’s leading university, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), announced that renowned neuroscientist Ranulfo Romo Trujillo would leave his position after being disciplined for an unspecified offense. Inés Gutiérrez, Science | AAAS, "Top neuroscientist leaves Mexican university as former trainees allege sexual harassment," 17 Mar. 2020 Previous discipline State records show that Poole has been previously disciplined. Kelli Weir, Cincinnati.com, "Canton school security employee fired for excessive force on kindergartner," 13 Feb. 2020 Wrong direction Jon Kettles, a Dallas attorney who brought the lawsuit on behalf of the Fehr family, said no Fort Worth staff or managers who tried to help Fehr during his emergency were disciplined. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Family of Fort Worth pilot who died in plane crash claim air controller sent him wrong way," 8 Feb. 2020 Ludwig in her lawsuit said male students who used the term had not been disciplined, including a boy who had used the term in a profile in the newspaper earlier in the year, the lawsuit said. USA TODAY, "Expulsion at end of rainbow, Benedict Arnold, Batman thief: News from around our 50 states," 15 Jan. 2020 Make that five starters who are being disciplined for being late for a team meeting. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Live updates: ASU football looks to break losing streak at Oregon State," 16 Nov. 2019 And the pressure to be mentally disciplined for the duration is every bit as tough as the physical part. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Pacers lack discipline for 4 quarters against elite teams such as Bucks," 5 Mar. 2020 That was the same year that Ratzinger began heading the Vatican department that disciplined priests. Matthias Gafni, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland diocese, ex-priest sued over alleged 1985 assault on 5-year-old in closet," 3 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discipline.' 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 discipline

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for discipline

Noun

Middle English, "chastisement, system of ordered conduct, instruction, branch of learning," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin disciplīna "teaching, instruction, branch of study, orderly conduct based on moral training" (Medieval Latin, "chastisement, scourging"), from discipulus "pupil, learner" + -īna, suffix denoting a place or practice (from noun derivative of feminine of -īnus -ine entry 1) — more at disciple

Verb

Middle English disciplinen "to subject to chastisement, educate," borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French discipliner, borrowed from Late Latin disciplīnāre "to teach" (Medieval Latin, "to punish, scourge"), derivative of Latin disciplīna "teaching, discipline entry 1"

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Time Traveler for discipline

Time Traveler

The first known use of discipline was in the 13th century

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Statistics for discipline

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discipline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discipline. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for discipline

discipline

noun
How to pronounce discipline (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of discipline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: control that is gained by requiring that rules or orders be obeyed and punishing bad behavior
: a way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders
: behavior that is judged by how well it follows a set of rules or orders

discipline

verb

English Language Learners Definition of discipline (Entry 2 of 2)

: to punish (someone) as a way of making sure that rules or orders are obeyed
: to train (yourself) to do something by controlling your behavior

discipline

noun
dis·​ci·​pline | \ ˈdi-sə-plən How to pronounce discipline (audio) \

Kids Definition of discipline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : strict training that corrects or strengthens “Boys need discipline,” he said.
3 : habits and ways of acting that are gotten through practice At this point in the act the penguins always forgot their discipline— Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins
4 : control that is gained by insisting that rules be followed The teacher tried to maintain discipline.

discipline

verb
disciplined; disciplining

Kids Definition of discipline (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to punish as a way to bring about good behavior The principal disciplined the troublemakers.
2 : to train in self-control or obedience The diet disciplines overeaters.
3 : to bring under control discipline troops

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Comments on discipline

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