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
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 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

In the video, an administrator is also heard explaining that the student was not the only one facing discipline because of her hairstyle. Amira Rasool, Allure, "A Black Student’s Elementary School Reportedly Sent Her Home for Wearing Box Braids," 22 Aug. 2018 In the video, an administrator is also heard explaining that the student was not the only one facing discipline because of her hairstyle. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "A Black Student Was Reportedly Sent Home from Christ the King Elementary School for Wearing Box Braids," 21 Aug. 2018 The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.​ Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes. Lorenzo Reyes And Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Colts on NFL's new anthem policy: 'Obviously, we’re keeping an eye' on it," 23 May 2018 The MacArthur Fellows Program awards grants across all disciplines to people who are nominated by others in their communities. Hannah Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "UW researcher wins $625,000 MacArthur ‘genius grant’ for transgender youth study," 4 Oct. 2018 Apparently the Wharton School failed to teach Machiavelli on the advantages of discipline over rage. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "If Trump Were a Poet, He’d Be Rudyard Kipling," 26 Dec. 2018 With Chrome, Firefox, and Edge all as going concerns, a fair amount of discipline is imposed on Web developers. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Google isn’t the company that we should have handed the Web over to," 17 Dec. 2018 The city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates police misconduct allegations, has yet to announce the findings of its investigation into the bar fight or any potential recommendation of discipline. Dan Hinkel, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago cop involved in controversial fatal shooting cleared by judge in bar fight," 10 July 2018 Spending volatility' is a function of political discipline, something lacking in Sacramento. sacbee, "Tax haircuts and concerts – or the rich? Californians consider the options," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University, said Schlossberg could be disciplined should he be convicted of something as serious as disorderly conduct. NBC News, "New York politicians file formal complaint against lawyer whose racist rant went viral," 17 May 2018 But officials at Charlotte Catholic High said students leaders had chosen to pray rather than walk out of class that day, but acknowledged that the school's principal had told students they could be disciplined for leaving class. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Myers Park High students say they were suspended for walkout over gun violence | Charlotte Observer," 20 Apr. 2018 Other schools across the state said their students who did walk out of school would be disciplined, while several schools organized other activities to honor the 17 slain in Florida. Ivana Hrynkiw, AL.com, "Huffman High School students walk out of class for student killed last week, Florida victims," 14 Mar. 2018 Sacramento City Unified leaders have yet to decide if students will be disciplined for walking out of class on March 14. Diana Lambert, sacbee, "Local schools gird for student walkout over gun violence," 4 Mar. 2018 The Lakers have been disciplined by the NBA for tampering twice in the past year. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Report: Lakers Hold Meeting to Warn Staff About Tampering," 20 June 2018 Bailey actually was disciplined by the sheriff’s office for two of the incidents described by the DA. Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, "Attorney defends deputy against claims of racism, violence," 5 June 2018 Two Chicago police officers were disciplined earlier this month for lying about an unauthorized police pursuit that ended in a crash, severely injuring a teenage girl. Jeremy Gorner, chicagotribune.com, "Two Chicago cops suspended for lying about an unauthorized chase that injured teen girl — 14 years ago," 31 May 2018 The judge is also being disciplined for inappropriately communicating with lawyers about scheduling outside of court. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Miami Judge Uses Racial Slur to Describe Black Defendant, Blames Language on Growing Up in New York," 23 May 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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Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

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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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