penal code


Definition of penal code

: a code of laws concerning crimes and offenses and their punishment

Examples of penal code in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Iran has reportedly sentenced three teenagers to have their fingers amputated for stealing, a brutal punishment still on the books under the country's Islamic penal code. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Iran upholds sentence to amputate the fingers of 3 teens convicted of stealing," 18 Sep. 2020 Much of their defense hinged on a complex interpretation of Article 103 of Japan’s penal code, which prohibits harboring criminals and enabling the flight of anyone who has committed a crime or escaped confinement. David Yaffe-bellany,, "Ghosn’s Alleged Accomplices Can Be Extradited, Judge Says," 4 Sep. 2020 Phil Esbenshade, the executive assistant district attorney for Kings County, said the case hinged on whether the state’s penal code exempts pregnant women from criminal liability in cases like these. Jacey Fortin, New York Times, "California’s Attorney General Condemns Murder Charges Over a Stillbirth," 11 Aug. 2020 Egypt’s penal code is sorely in need of amendments to better protect rape and assault survivors. Washington Post, "Egypt’s women are rising up against sexual violence. Others are still being jailed for TikToks.," 31 July 2020 The man’s murder conviction was overturned because the penal code did not refer to fetuses as potential victims of homicide. Jacey Fortin, New York Times, "California’s Attorney General Condemns Murder Charges Over a Stillbirth," 11 Aug. 2020 Naseem was on trial on charges of blasphemy after allegedly claiming to be a prophet, a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment under the Pakistan penal code. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "US national shot dead in Pakistan courtroom during blasphemy trial," 31 July 2020 Criminal attorney and former federal lawmaker Rasel Tomé said all of the crimes the new penal code lowers the sentences for are the ones committed by corrupt officials. Washington Post, "Honduras’ new penal code lightens sentences for corruption," 25 June 2020 Because Gugino is older than 65 and the two officers are more than 10 years younger, the crime is a felony, according to New York's penal code. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "'Freaking awful': OANN in turmoil after Trump cites report to claim injured Buffalo protester could be 'antifa provocateur'," 9 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penal code.' 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 penal code

circa 1777, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for penal code

Time Traveler

The first known use of penal code was circa 1777

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Last Updated

28 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Penal code.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for penal code

penal code


English Language Learners Definition of penal code

law : a set of laws relating to crimes and the punishments for those crimes

penal code


Legal Definition of penal code

: a code of laws concerning crimes and their punishments

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