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

The whole industry needs to have that level of discipline. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "Settlements in air fare collusion suit puts pressure on Delta, United," 28 June 2018 Like Knowles, he is remembered as a controversial figure, whose extreme methods of discipline were considered by many (including his own children) to be abusive. refinery29.com, "Before Matthew Knowles, There Was Joe Jackson," 27 June 2018 Every element of the novels conveys a strenuous sense of discipline. Jordan Larson, The Cut, "Rachel Cusk’s Rules for Living," 25 June 2018 At least one Fox employee besides Porat has been fired, a source close to the matter said, and other employees face discipline. Susan Snyder, Philly.com, "In wake of biz school scandal, Temple faces more scrutiny for data falsification," 11 July 2018 Often times, union officials said, schedule pressure is a barrier to accessing a bathroom and sometimes drivers face discipline for falling behind. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "'Let Us Pee': Bus Drivers Call For Better Access To Bathrooms," 28 June 2018 Conley told the news station, adding that whoever was behind the document would face discipline. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Tennessee Man Finds Racist ‘Owner’s Manual’ at His Job," 27 June 2018 The two men were set to go on trial together last month, but Baptista’s lawyer faced Florida Bar discipline and had to back out of the case. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Judge turns down self-defense claim in Miramar manslaughter case," 26 June 2018 Meanwhile, Dean Jones is also facing discipline from South Boston Speedway for running onto the racetrack, according to a statement provided to ESPN. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Father runs on track to save son from burning car after crash in NASCAR-sanctioned race," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Grams, Krueger and Mahnke were disciplined; another eight officers will receive remedial training on professional communications and will be required to review the Police Department's policy on cooperating with citizens to ensure public safety. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks rookie Sterling Brown's lawsuit shows police officer's racially charged Facebook posts," 19 June 2018 Conservatives believe in disciplining democracy through constitutional restraint and handing day-to-day decision-making to people who are skilled in the exercise of power. The Economist, "The Conservative Party has trashed the basic principles of conservatism," 12 July 2018 In Michigan, the act does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for a violation of workplace drug policy or working under the influence of marijuana. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "How Michigan's marijuana proposal differs from Colorado law," 12 July 2018 McCaw, who also was disciplined and resigned in June 2016, is now the athletic director at Liberty University in Virginia. Houston Chronicle, "Baylor denies allegations of racism, cover-up in lawsuit," 7 July 2018 The abuse instilled such fear and obedience that the older children disciplined their younger siblings and even caged them after the parents largely abandoned them in a double-wide trailer for several years in Texas. Brian Melley, Fox News, "Prosecutor: Abused kids upbringing like 'Lord of the Flies'," 22 June 2018 But Peters, who didn’t return calls, wasn’t among the three employees disciplined. Stephen Hudak, OrlandoSentinel.com, "UCF ends internship program with Orange County HR after secret video shot of student," 15 June 2018 The officer was identified as Patrick Connor, a 10-year veteran who previously had been disciplined for working a part-time job and not carrying proper credentials, Forest Preserve District Police Chief Kelvin Pope said in a Tuesday news conference. Samantha Schmidt, latimes.com, "Officer resigns after video shows he watched as woman was harassed for wearing Puerto Rico shirt," 12 July 2018 New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin published an article arguing that Watkins should be disciplined because her relationship with Wolfe undermined the credibility of the Times and other news outlets. Katherine Nails, Philly.com, "New York Times investigating Ali Watkins' involvement with official charged with lying to FBI in leak probe," 13 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.

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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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Statistics for discipline

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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 \

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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