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

But not one of them could have found their freedom without her extraordinary discipline. Hilton Als, The New Yorker, "Toni Morrison’s Truth," 8 Aug. 2019 Sure, Laureano’s improved tremendously on his discipline at the plate. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "A closer look at Ramon Laureano’s extraordinary July," 20 July 2019 This defies logic and would get little support from economists anywhere on the scales from conservative to liberal, either within their discipline or in terms of party politics. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: New gas taxes are needed; here’s why," 14 July 2019 According to a settlement agreement, Mandoyan was given his job back and his discipline was reduced to a 12-day suspension. Maya Lau, latimes.com, "Chief watchdog questions L.A. County Sheriff Villanueva’s decision to rehire fired deputy," 9 July 2019 The Nuyorican multi-hyphenate is thriving as a songwriter/producer, performer, writer, poet, podcaster, activist, and now actress, using her multiple disciplines as a platform for her advocacy in the trans community. Jasmin Hernandez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nomi Ruiz on Making Art That Means Something," 17 Jan. 2019 The history books will and are treating him most fairly, while uncovering some other powerful traits: his great competitiveness, his raw courage, and his self discipline. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read Alan Simpson's Full Eulogy Honoring George H.W. Bush," 5 Dec. 2018 Mattingly discussed how Anderson’s game-planning allowed his plate discipline and mechanics to thrive. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Searching for answers on Brian Anderson's superb season for the Marlins," 3 July 2018 Lee, who turned 20 on Tuesday, still has a ways to go to improve his plate discipline. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Royals promote one of their most dynamic prospects to Class AA," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This is a drill about disciplining and regulating people’s movement. Washington Post, "Kashmir’s main city a maze of razor wire and steel barriers," 14 Aug. 2019 Patrick Bateman, as portrayed by Bale, is handsome, wealthy, disciplined and focused. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Ivanka Trump’s ideal man once was Christian Bale’s ‘American Psycho’ character, new magazine profile reveals," 5 Aug. 2019 Even before the 2015 domestic abuse law passed, parents had started to embrace a more Western approach to disciplining and child-rearing, says Jing Xu, the University of Washington anthropologist. Emily Tate, WIRED, "When an Online Teaching Job Becomes a Window into Child Abuse," 17 July 2019 Poblocki, who has been with the department for about 20 years, has a history of being disciplined and has been suspended twice before for improper citizen contacts, according to police documents. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Sources: Seattle police chief feared she could be overturned on a technicality if she fired officer who lied," 13 June 2019 But he had been disciplined for missteps in other cases as well. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "Officer who investigated stalking of Ellie Weik before her murder has been fired," 7 June 2019 An employee was fired, others disciplined and safeguards were put in place so these mistakes wouldn’t happen again. Steve Contorno, miamiherald, "New information shows deeper problems with bungled concealed-weapon background checks," 6 July 2018 Round 6/208 -- Cedrick Wilson, WR, 6-2, 188, Boise State Wilson is a speedy receiver who runs disciplined routes and has a chance to give Prescott another vertical threat in the passing game. Clarence E. Hill Jr., star-telegram, "Pass or fail: Here's the grade the Cowboys get for their draft class | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 30 Apr. 2018 Castrejón said union collective bargaining agreements protect teachers so much that few school district teachers accused of misconduct are actually disciplined or fired. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Should all teachers be credentialed? Charter school advocates say no," 21 July 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

16 Aug 2019

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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 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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