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 Anatomy is the oldest discipline within the field of medicine, and doctors have been dissecting, exploring and documenting the human body since the third century. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "Scientists May Have Identified a Previously Unknown Spit-Producing Organ in Our Heads," 21 Oct. 2020 The newest surge sets the stage for a grueling winter that will test the discipline of many Americans who have spent warmer months gathering in parks and eating outdoors, where the virus is known to spread less easily. Sarah Mervosh, New York Times, "‘It Has Hit Us With a Vengeance’: Virus Surges Again Across the United States," 20 Oct. 2020 Having others able to see you through the camera is meant to recreate the discipline of a traditional workplace. Nell Lewis, CNN, "Struggling to work productively from home? Let strangers watch you.," 19 Oct. 2020 And without being able to expend all that anxiety that comes with being a teenager, without coaches as mentors, without the discipline of a season, some kids will go down a wrong path. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Gov. Pritzker? The kids want to play.," 16 Oct. 2020 The Red Sox were investigated and found to have participated in a sign-stealing scandal in 2018 — when Cora was the manager — but replay operator J.T. Watkins took the discipline. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Making the case for — and against — the Detroit Tigers hiring Alex Cora as manager," 7 Oct. 2020 The discipline of history is, for the most part, wedded to the documentary record; how scholars engage with it is one way judgments are made about the quality of their work. Annette Gordon-reed, The New York Review of Books, "Rebellious History," 6 Oct. 2020 Butler and Miles are accused of imposing the rogue discipline, and Hendershott, a lieutenant, is accused of knowing about it and doing nothing to stop it. Nolan Clay, USA TODAY, "Oklahoma jail workers charged after forcing inmates to listen to 'Baby Shark' on loop, probe shows," 6 Oct. 2020 The plate discipline that served New York so well in Game 1 wasn't nearly so much in evidence in the rematch. Greg Beacham, Star Tribune, "Stanton's 2 big homers not enough to power Yankees in Game 2," 6 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Florida Supreme Court may discipline or remove judges on the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, an independent state agency charged with investigating alleged misconduct. Monivette Cordeiro, orlandosentinel.com, "Circuit Judge Alan Apte remains on bench amid molestation probe," 21 Oct. 2020 The board won’t discipline officers or investigate complaints. Lisa J. Huriash, sun-sentinel.com, "Broward’s new police review panel will track misconduct — and lots more," 20 Oct. 2020 The lawsuit also targets 10 unnamed sheriff's officials for failing to discipline the deputies involved, including one with three past use-of-force shootings on his record. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Ex-'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely sues Santa Barbara sheriffs over 'wrongful' deaths of wife and son," 2 Oct. 2020 For example, the order and memo purport to allow agency officials to discipline employees who approve certain training sessions. Washington Post, "A two-page White House ‘race’ memo became a flash point in Tuesday’s debate," 30 Sep. 2020 The News also reported on allegations that Rush beat Fields' son when his pants were pulled down, and two other teens with a wooden paddle to discipline them for misbehaving. Sue Ambrose, Dallas News, "Demonstrators at Rickie Rush’s church march to support assault survivors," 29 Sep. 2020 This means, ordinarily, that a private university (like New York City's Fordham) can discipline students based on the content of their speech in a way that a state school could not. Jack Greiner, The Enquirer, "Strictly Legal: Campus speech is tricky business," 4 Aug. 2020 In the earlier shootings, Chisholm did not charge the officer and Tosa police did not discipline him internally. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Live Wauwatosa updates: Cole's family upset at DA's decision not to charge Officer Joseph Mensah," 7 Oct. 2020 Judge said the Giants probably wouldn't discipline Tate, while McVay said the Rams would handle the matter internally. Greg Beacham, Star Tribune, "Ramsey, Tate unlikely to face team discipline for fight," 5 Oct. 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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discipline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discipline. Accessed 29 Oct. 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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