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 Jackson said discipline was the foundation for his coaching philosophy because of his father, Herbert Brown, and high school coach, Ronald Lloyd. Mike Considine, ExpressNews.com, "Retiring Burbank coach leaves legacy of young athletes who graduated, became good citizens," 22 June 2020 The investigations focused on violations regarding facility and premises maintenance, staff qualifications, discipline, behavior management, resident restraint and sufficiency of staff, the lawsuit said. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "Attorney compares Michigan teen's death at Kalamazoo facility to George Floyd's," 22 June 2020 Officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, had at least 17 misconduct complaints, though most resulted in no discipline. Fox News, "How fired police get rehired: Discipline challenges emerge in appeals process," 17 June 2020 The moral fiber and self-discipline of every black player would have been called into question. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Why Giants legend Willie Mays is the kind of leader we could use right now," 17 June 2020 But misconduct complaints resulting in no discipline aren't limited to Chauvin. Cassidy Mcdonald And Michael Kaplan, CBS News, "Minneapolis officers cited in misconduct lawsuits face little discipline," 16 June 2020 Five were closed with no discipline, according to the city's complaint database. Scott Bronstein, CNN, "Minneapolis police are rarely disciplined for complaints, records show," 11 June 2020 Everyone struggles with discipline, so be nice to yourself. Liz Bentley, NBC News, "'Career doctor' Liz Bentley: How to master the art of self-discipline," 11 June 2020 Similar discipline was on display during last year’s impeachment hearings. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Give but no take: Newly disciplined Trump avoids questions from White House press corps," 9 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh said the current collective bargaining agreement limits the chief’s ability to appropriately discipline officers. Martha Bellisle, Anchorage Daily News, "Cops in misconduct cases stay on force through arbitration," 24 June 2020 Smitherman explained that if the city was going to discipline police officers for using racial slurs, then those officers'bosses, city council, should be under the same scrutiny. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, "Facebook feud: Smitherman calls out Seelbach for 'Can they even speak English?' text in 2018," 24 June 2020 But Nirenberg stopped short of saying voters should repeal collective bargaining altogether — calling on the union to instead agree to rip out parts of the contract that limit how the city can discipline those officers. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio activists want to gut police union’s power amid George Floyd protests," 15 June 2020 In her letter sent Thursday, Campanelli asked Dart and Inspector General Patrick Blanchard to discipline, or, if appropriate, fire the deputies behind the posts. Don Babwin, USA TODAY, "Sheriff to 'de-deputize' officers linked to threatening online posts after protest," 13 June 2020 But other measures meatpackers took, such as using attendance bonuses to keep workers on the job, coupled with long-standing policies to discipline workers who called in sick, may have helped fuel the spread, the CDC and other health officials said. Michael Grabell, ProPublica, "Emails Reveal Chaos as Meatpacking Companies Fought Health Agencies Over COVID-19 Outbreaks in Their Plants," 12 June 2020 Cynthia Conti-Cook, a lawyer who fought unsuccessfully for a sight of Mr Pantaleo’s record, thinks that getting it right away would have forced the NYPD to fire or discipline him then. The Economist, "Sunlight and the NYPD Following George Floyd’s death, New York opens police records," 10 June 2020 Two petitions calling on the school to expel or discipline the students have received more than 4,500 signatures. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Video of Moraga high school girls using racial slur prompts calls for discipline," 10 June 2020 Phoenix, other cities allow officers to erase misconduct from their records When departments discipline officers for misconduct, managers can take into account previous wrongdoing to see if there's a pattern of misbehavior. Justin Price, azcentral, "George Floyd protests intensify calls for police reform. Here are 4 things that would actually change the system," 8 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for discipline

Time Traveler

The first known use of discipline was in the 13th century

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Statistics for discipline

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discipline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discipline. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for discipline

discipline

noun
How to pronounce discipline (audio)

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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