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

Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart recently pointed out that briefings forced a certain amount of discipline and preparation in his press shop during the Clinton years. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Sarah Sanders' legacy: The death of the White House press briefing," 13 June 2019 Cue all sorts of vivid forays into the capacity of rats for self-discipline, fairness, or generosity, and what one prairie vole might be willing to do for the love of another. Lidija Haas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 June 2019 Achieving a healthy balance with a means of communication destined to endure requires discipline and thoughtful use, both in time spent and words uttered. Caryn M. Sullivan, Twin Cities, "Caryn Sullivan: Mental illness: Breaking the silence and making a plan," 9 June 2019 July could be an excellent time to use your extra energy and self-discipline to begin a diet or to banish a bad habit. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for June 8, 2019: Just relax, Aries; Virgo, get organized," 8 June 2019 Lent is supposed to be about self-discipline and moderation—penance in anticipation of Easter. Gena Steffens, National Geographic, "Critically endangered turtles under siege during Lent," 29 Apr. 2019 Being president requires enormous self-discipline and a willingness to subjugate one’s own personal interests and desires to the good of the country. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Is 2018 really all about Russia?," 18 July 2018 What a lot of people fixate on about Ramadan, however, is the month-long fast and what many would consider the extreme self-discipline involved in participating. Tasnim Ahmed, Allure, "Observing Ramadan Means So Much More to Me Than Just Fasting," 15 May 2018 Fasting teaches all Muslims restraint and self-discipline. Nadra Widatalla, Teen Vogue, "Why Ramadan Is Important to Me in an Islamophobic America," 7 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Yankees head coach Angel Gonzalez’s players stayed disciplined in the batter’s box and made the opposing Braves pitcher throw strikes. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Yankees take down Braves for 10U championship," 6 June 2019 All students involved will be disciplined appropriately. Suzannah Weiss, Teen Vogue, "Alabama High School Students Accused of Racism Over Snapchat Photo," 18 Sep. 2018 In addition to their arrests, the students will be disciplined in accordance with Jefferson Parish Public School System policy, spokeswoman Beth Branley said. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "2 Grace King students arrested for 'future school shooter' drawing: JPSO," 22 Feb. 2018 The commission, known as the PCIARC, votes on whether St. Paul officers should be disciplined for policy violations and forwards recommendations to the police chief. Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities, "Leaders of commission that reviews St. Paul police misconduct resign, say mayor and staff don’t support their work," 4 June 2019 Last year, the controversial head of the clinic, Stanislaw Burzynski, was disciplined by the Texas Medical Board for misleading terminally ill cancer patients about their treatments and risks. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Crowdfunding raises millions for quack cancer remedies, like coffee enemas," 20 Sep. 2018 Stay as proactive, disciplined, and focused as possible this month for maximum reward at work. Colin Bedell, Cosmopolitan, "Your Horoscope for the Week of March 5," 4 Mar. 2018 Meanwhile, the exterior is a sleek and disciplined International Style facade that plays like an homage to Mies van der Rohe, whose famous Seagram Building is practically around the corner, on Park Avenue. Brad Dunning, GQ, "These Are the 8 Architectural Wonders Of the Fashion World," 28 Mar. 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, "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

21 Jun 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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