discipline

noun
dis·ci·pline | \ ˈdi-sə-plən \

Definition of discipline 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order

b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior

c : self-control

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
disci·pline
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 \-plə-nᵊl \ 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

Please direct your email to the appropriate person based on the discipline, noted below. Jane Wooldridge, miamiherald, "Deadline for Season of the Arts is approaching. Here's how to get included.," 10 July 2018 The Center selects exemplary teachers from across America and Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history. Staff Report, The Aegis, "Havre de Grace Elementary teacher Dennison receives prestigious fellowship," 22 June 2018 Learning to balance training to become military officers while being students taught us personal discipline, time management, patience and many more invaluable lessons. refinery29.com, "Why I Joined The Military Before College & Won't Stop Serving After," 22 June 2018 To be as productive and seductive as Bourdain took iron discipline, personal and physical, as a very good recent New Yorker profile demonstrated. Corby Kummer, The Atlantic, "Remembering Anthony Bourdain," 8 June 2018 The company received a total of four discipline letters on May 14, including one for improper storing and staging of backfill materials. Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press, "Text messages reveal illegal dumping by Detroit demo contractor," 26 June 2018 The day care was accused of placing infants and toddlers in cribs as punishment, withholding food for discipline purposes and, on one occasion, force-feeding a child solid food, according to the suspension order. Brad Schmidt, OregonLive.com, "Oregon failed to identify day care owner's checkered past before new allegations," 6 June 2018 In that case the Supremes seem determined to declare that union members have a constitutional right not to pay union fees for services that unions provide—like representing members at discipline hearings. Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, "Politics With friends like Republican Jeanne Ives, Illinois women don’t need enemies," 5 June 2018 But the university dealt with the initial complaint against Zhang, a rising star in primatology who is about 40, through low-key, internal discipline. Chris Buckley, BostonGlobe.com, "Chinese professor accused of sexual harassment is barred from teaching," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The biggest thing is being mentally disciplined enough to stick with your approach. Steve Millar, Daily Southtown, "Ray of hope: Blair Beck's walk-off homer gives ThunderBolts something to celebrate," 24 June 2018 Rapone was disciplined but still allowed to graduate. NBC News, "Army boots West Point grad who touted communist revolt," 20 June 2018 Whitehurst was never disciplined, so almost none of the concerns or insights about his behavior with students made it into a more permanent file. Bethany Barnes, OregonLive.com, "Investigators say Portland teacher contract endangers children," 11 May 2018 The school district disciplined a handful of employees who were found to have used the cards improperly, among other conduct issues, said Jim Anderson, chief financial officer for the school district. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Audit flags questionable expenses at Anchorage School District," 30 Apr. 2018 If there was a violation of the Use of the Internet (FCPS policy 4.406), the person responsible will be disciplined according to school board policy. Jeremy Pierre, ajc, "Teacher's school messaging app hacked, sexual photos sent to students," 24 Apr. 2018 Shai’s entire life is disciplined, and it’s not forced by others around him. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "UK basketball freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander declares for NBA draft, will hire an agent," 9 Apr. 2018 SPAL 2013's Polish international defender will have to be disciplined in his positional play and make good decisions in order to avoid a torrid game against Juventus. SI.com, "SPAL 2013 vs Juventus Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More," 16 Mar. 2018 Unsure how to discipline him, Reid sells Rawls and his mother to his scheming neighbor Antony Levallois. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction Chronicle: First Lady of the Confederacy," 25 May 2018

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, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin disciplina teaching, learning, from discipulus pupil

Verb

see discipline entry 1

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

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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 \

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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