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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The six-year contract contains cumulative wage hikes of more than 17 percent, retroactive to 2015, along with new measures governing internal discipline and appeals and the creation of a multipronged system of civilian police oversight. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Seattle City Council approves police-union contract; deal faces scrutiny by federal judge overseeing reforms," 13 Nov. 2018 At that time, the Army brought in more recruits with misconduct waivers, triggering discipline and other problems. Fox News, "Army misses 2018 recruiting goal," 24 Sep. 2018 The free annual event draws on the talents of Dancing Classrooms, the nonprofit that teaches social dance — and, by extension, poise, discipline and self-confidence — in New York City public schools. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "9 Things to Do With Your Kids in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 This year, 335 artists from across the region submitted work for the prize, Baskerville said, and all disciplines and mediums of visual art are accepted. Katie V. Jones, Howard County Times, "Laurel photographer's perceptions of beauty," 12 July 2018 He was raised by his grandparents, who instilled a sense of discipline and right and wrong in him. Stephen Ruiz, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Umpires rally around Sanford peer after infection costs him his legs," 6 July 2018 Exclusive stories about discipline and politics in state service. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "Bottled water tab at a California prison has hit $46,000 a month," 2 July 2018 The board assists the court in regulating the practice of law in Kentucky, including lawyer discipline and continuing legal education. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville lawyer is the new Kentucky Bar Association president," 29 June 2018 Maddon has lamented the lack of plate discipline and clutch hitting that has produced only 14 runs during the losing streak. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs' Kris Bryant maintains sore shoulder isn't reason for power outage," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The superintendent declined to discuss whether the student was disciplined, citing federal privacy laws. Heather Hollingsworth, The Seattle Times, "Missouri teacher suspended after student dresses as Klansman," 13 Nov. 2018 Some individual agencies and offices are well run and disciplined, but the White House from the president on down is substantially running on an ad hoc basis. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Trump attacks Kavanaugh accuser," 25 Sep. 2018 Are there stories of ICE agents being fired, disciplined, or prosecuted for their behavior? Lauren Katz, Vox, "Your questions about the family separation crisis at the border, answered," 1 Aug. 2018 The board can discipline teachers found guilty of misconduct by censuring them in minor cases and suspending or removing their teaching certificates in more severe cases. Ricardo Cano, azcentral, "Board of Education drops discussion about punishing #RedForEd teachers over walkout," 22 June 2018 Morales disciplined two sergeants and an officer in the incident. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "More discipline possible for Milwaukee police involved in Bucks' Sterling Brown arrest," 21 June 2018 Brown wasn't charged with anything and three officers were disciplined, with suspensions ranging from two to 15 days. Ivan Moreno, Houston Chronicle, "Bucks guard Sterling Brown sues Milwaukee over stun-gun arrest," 19 June 2018 Brown wasn't charged and three officers were disciplined, with suspensions ranging from two to 15 days. CBS News, "Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown sues city and police over stun-gun arrest," 19 June 2018 The school disciplined the student, changed the offending student’s class schedule and locker location. Katie Park, Philly.com, "Anti-Semitic text messages and an alleged threat of school violence. Did a Chester County school district handle the situation correctly?," 15 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about discipline

Share discipline

Statistics for discipline

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for discipline

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on discipline

What made you want to look up discipline? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!