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

Russo also faces discipline over two other incidences. NBC News, "New Jersey judge who told alleged rape victim to 'close your legs' is 'remorseful,' lawyer says," 10 July 2019 The significance of the ethics review of the earlier Epstein case is unclear, since many of the key decision-makers are no longer in the Justice Department and could not face employee discipline. Devlin Barrett, Washington Post, "Second sex-crimes case against Jeffrey Epstein shows reach of federal law," 10 July 2019 The last former prosecutor facing potential discipline, John Verner, supervised both Kaczmarek and Foster as chief of the attorney general’s Criminal Bureau. Shawn Musgrave, BostonGlobe.com, "Three former prosecutors accused of misconduct in Amherst drug-lab scandal," 9 July 2019 Attorneys for the Judicial Council have asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington D.C. to dismiss the case because Adams no longer faces discipline. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Court committee drops misconduct complaint against federal Judge John Adams in Akron," 5 July 2019 For someone who writes vividly about emotional chaos, Mitski has a striking devotion to order and discipline. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, "On the Road with Mitski," 1 July 2019 In those cases, discipline may be needed, but possibly not termination. Scott Travis, sun-sentinel.com, "Broward Schools may soon get tough on sexual harassment of students," 28 June 2019 Niehaus said the girls face discipline related to violations of the extracurricular activity code, which sets conduct rules for athletes and others who participate in after-school activities. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "Grosse Pointe girls hurl N-word and racial slurs in video, officials call for sensitivity," 25 June 2019 Nkemdiche faces possible discipline from Commissioner Roger Goodell under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals should part ways with Robert Nkemdiche as soon as possible," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

With that in mind, the league and team might not want to risk prejudicing Williams’s criminal case by disciplining her for an unproven charge. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "The WNBA and Complications That Arise in Domestic Abuse Cases," 15 July 2019 Because Conway is a presidential appointee, the Office of Special Counsel has no authority to discipline her. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "White House will bar Conway from Hatch Act testimony," 24 June 2019 Because Conway is a presidential appointee, the Office of Special Counsel has no authority to discipline her. John Wagner, BostonGlobe.com, "White House to bar Kellyanne Conway from testifying to Congress about alleged violations of Hatch Act," 24 June 2019 Most of the five St. Paul police officers terminated Thursday worked for the city’s Police Department for less than seven years and were only previously disciplined for preventable squad crashes. Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities, "5 St. Paul police officers fired: Who are they?," 13 June 2019 The jurors found that then-Scappoose city manager Jon Hanken initiated investigations of the chief and disciplined him after the chief questioned the city manager’s budget and financial management practices. oregonlive.com, "Oregon Appeals Court upholds retaliation verdict in feud between city manager and police chief in Scappoose," 10 June 2019 The Sheriff’s Office ultimately reassigned some personnel and the governor removed Israel from office, but the FBI has never divulged whether anyone was disciplined for mishandling tips. Andrew Boryga, sun-sentinel.com, "Former school cop Scot Peterson: He’s been called a coward, but is that a crime?," 7 June 2019 And Alexandria had always been focused, disciplined, and clear about how to get her point across. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "These young activists are striking to save their planet from climate change," 13 Mar. 2019 The organization disciplined two producers after a film led to complaints, which the producers argued was a violation of their First Amendment speech rights. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "The case had caused concern for some online speech advocates," 17 June 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

19 Jul 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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