pe·​nal·​ize | \ ˈpē-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce penalize (audio) , ˈpe- How to pronounce penalize (audio) \
penalized; penalizing

Definition of penalize

transitive verb

1 : to inflict a penalty on
2 : to put at a serious disadvantage

Other Words from penalize

penalization \ ˈpē-​nə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce penalize (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for penalize



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Examples of penalize in a Sentence

The company was penalized for not paying taxes. The hockey player was penalized for holding. This law would unfairly penalize immigrants.
Recent Examples on the Web And in Missouri, several bills have been introduced this session that would restrict the rights of trans people, including one that would penalize doctors who provide gender-affirming care for minors. Anne Branigin, Washington Post, 14 May 2022 While there are criminal consequences for the destruction of government records, there are none that penalize the failure to create them in the first place. Ryan Nobles, CNN, 1 Apr. 2022 Some lawyers said leaving workers to pay for their own tests could work as an effective incentive, alongside benefits surcharges and other measures that effectively penalize employees who don’t want to receive a vaccine. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, 17 Sep. 2021 Later, Republicans introduced three budget amendments that would penalize companies who opposed election bills or threatened adverse actions such as a boycott in response to proposals by state politicians. Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2021 The French, despite their constant flirtation with extremes, invariably penalize any politician who veers dramatically from the mainstream, promising revolutionary change. David A. Andelman, CNN, 6 Apr. 2022 The Democrats' bill would penalize Russia's political and military leaders and financial institutions. USA TODAY, 16 Feb. 2022 Automakers displeased with excessive markups could penalize wayward dealers in the future with fewer allocations. Morgan Korn, ABC News, 29 Jan. 2022 Because companies are penalized based on how many former employees claim unemployment benefits, the new language would essentially penalize employersfor firing workers who refuse to get vaccinated. Binghui Huang, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penalize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of penalize

1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for penalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of penalize was in 1888

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Dictionary Entries Near penalize



penal servitude

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Statistics for penalize

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Penalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for penalize


pe·​nal·​ize | \ ˈpē-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce penalize (audio) , ˈpe- \
penalized; penalizing

Kids Definition of penalize

: to give a penalty to You'll be penalized for cheating.

More from Merriam-Webster on penalize

Nglish: Translation of penalize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of penalize for Arabic Speakers


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