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

African-American male engineering students, although much more numerous than African-American women, are still greatly underrepresented in the discipline. NBC News, "How Jocelyn Jackson is changing the face of engineering," 9 Sep. 2019 The technical specialist has achieved unprecedented success in his 12 years on the World Cup circuit with six season titles in each of the slalom and giant slalom disciplines. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Austrian ski racing great Marcel Hirscher retires," 4 Sep. 2019 Traditionalists will say that nothing replaces the discipline of dragging one’s lazy butt off the dorm couch and to the lecture hall. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Why Harvard and Yale Students Can Skip This Computer Science Class—Data Sheet," 3 Sep. 2019 Take something from it — take the discipline from it. al, "Alexander City names stadium for 2 iconic HS football coaches," 30 Aug. 2019 The petition accuses de Blasio, O'Neill and other city officials of neglect of duty over their handling of issues including police training and the discipline of the officers involved. CBS News, "Eric Garner's family seeks testimony of Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014 chokehold death," 28 Aug. 2019 David and his brothers — Frederick, seven years older; Charles, five years older, and David’s twin, William — grew up in Wichita under the discipline of an emotionally distant father, who taught them to fight and compete with one another. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "David Koch, Billionaire Who Fueled Right-Wing Movement, Dies at 79," 23 Aug. 2019 The young attacker is comfortable on both the left and right hand side of a front three, but probably lacks the discipline to be deployed as a wing-back. SI.com, "Update on Allan Saint-Maximin Injury Ahead of Crucial Game Against Tottenham Hotspur," 21 Aug. 2019 If the coach allows his child to get out of control, the team discipline will fall by the wayside. Bird Brown, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Bird Brown: Life lessons can be learned through sports," 18 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Schools discipline indigenous students at higher rates for their share of the enrollment, according to the report by the Wyoming Community Foundation, suggesting that teachers' unconscious assumptions hurt some students' academic performance. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "The 'naturally disappointing' results of new Wyoming study: Native American students face greater discipline," 9 Sep. 2019 The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers claims six workers were wrongly fired and others disciplined at the plant in North Charleston, where employees build the Boeing 787. BostonGlobe.com, "GE still railing against Markopolos report," 20 Aug. 2019 As a group, the members of the national team are brash, idealistic, outspoken, thoughtful, disciplined, aware of their power and willing to use it, confident, and unapologetic. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "World Cup 2019: The U.S. Women’s Team Wins and Leaves the Stage as a New Kind of American Role Model," 7 July 2019 Those saving for retirement should stay committed, disciplined, and have a plan of action. Mel Jimenez, Houston Chronicle, "When it comes to retirement, it’s all about balance," 21 June 2019 Jemison explained to the girl that dancers must be disciplined, practicing and rehearsing constantly and paying attention to those around them while maintaining the choreography in their head. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Art and space: 'A quest never to end'," 12 June 2019 Capricorns are usually smart, loyal, and disciplined, so that bodes well for Hannah! Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who Is Jed Wyatt, Hannah's 'Bachelorette' Contestant and Fellow Southerner?," 29 Mar. 2019 The Magpies were disciplined and resolute throughout and looked rarely troubled such was Spurs lack of imagination. SI.com, "Tottenham: Fans Must Trust That Mauricio Pochettino Can Fix Fractured System," 26 Aug. 2019 But there's little indication in Phoenix Police Department personnel and internal investigations records that those officers were ever disciplined. Justin Price, azcentral, "Phoenix police routinely 'purges' officer discipline records, keeps misconduct secret," 23 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for discipline

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for discipline

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

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More Definitions for discipline

discipline

noun

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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