1

discipline

noun dis·ci·pline \ ˈdi-sə-plən \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of discipline

1 a : 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

disciplinal

play \-plə-nᵊl\ adjective

Examples of discipline in a Sentence

  1. 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 ToobinNew Yorker7 May 2007
  2. 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 AndersonWilson QuarterlySummer 2007
  3. 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 SmolinCurious Minds(2004) 2005
  4. 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 TaylorLaser2000
  5. The teacher has a hard time maintaining discipline in the classroom.

  6. The troops were praised for their dedication and discipline.

  7. Some parents feel that the school's principal has been too harsh in meting out discipline.

  8. Keeping a journal is a good discipline for a writer.

Recent Examples of discipline from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of discipline

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


2

discipline

verb disci·pline

Definition of discipline

disciplined; disciplining
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
3 a : to bring (a group) under control
  • discipline troops
b : to impose order upon
  • serious writers discipline and refine their writing styles

discipliner

noun

Examples of discipline in a Sentence

  1. 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 SmithSports Illustrated11 Sept. 2006
  2. Volunteers have to undergo a program to discipline the mind and cleanse the soul. —Aparism GhoshTime4 July 2005
  3. 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 GomezUndoing Time2001
  4. She was disciplined for misbehaving in class.

  5. He seems unwilling or unable to discipline his children.

  6. I'm trying to discipline myself to eat less.

Recent Examples of discipline from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of discipline

Synonym Discussion of discipline

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

DISCIPLINE Defined for English Language Learners

discipline

noun

Definition of discipline for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of discipline for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

discipline

noun dis·ci·pline \ ˈdi-sə-plən \

Definition of discipline for Students

1 : punishment 1
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.

2

discipline

verb

Definition of discipline for Students

disciplined; disciplining
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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