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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web At the same time, a senior diplomat at the U.N. said, the Biden administration may be reluctant to penalize an American for breaches of the arms embargo when others are guilty of far worse. New York Times, "Erik Prince, Trump Ally, Violated Libya Arms Embargo, U.N. Report Says," 19 Feb. 2021 If White House employees violate the Hatch Act, Trump would be the one who would have to penalize them. Justin Blum,, "Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Accused of Using Post to Sway 2020 Race," 7 Dec. 2020 Zients said Biden will not follow through on a Trump administration plan to penalize states lagging in vaccination by shifting some of their allocation to more efficient states. The Associated Press,, "Joe Biden to require mask use for travel on planes, ships, public transit," 21 Jan. 2021 The law allows the U.S. attorney general to financially penalize states that do not follow the reporting requirements. Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Database has info on 383 police shootings in San Diego County," 17 Oct. 2016 When schools resumed in the fall, the district urged teachers to grade on end-of-course knowledge — and not to penalize students on the basis of attendance, attitude or participation. Melissa Gomez, Los Angeles Times, "Facing a spike in Fs, winter break isn’t a vacation for many teachers and students," 30 Dec. 2020 Louisiana law empowers authorities to penalize people who flout restrictions implemented during situations like the coronavirus pandemic, which Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a public health emergency. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer,, "NOPD urges people to not attend Christian rally planned for New Year's Eve at Jackson Square," 30 Dec. 2020 Approximately 18 seconds elapsed from the end of Edwards’ run to the final play of the half, but the officials did not stop the clock or penalize the Steelers. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Ravens denied touchdown in strange sequence at end of first half vs. Steelers," 2 Dec. 2020 Critics of the proposal called it an attempt to discourage and penalize peaceful protesters. Susannah Bryan,, "A call for justice and a demand for change at Black Futures Matter rally in Fort Lauderdale," 27 Sep. 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for penalize

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Penalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for penalize



English Language Learners Definition of penalize

: to punish (someone or something) for breaking a rule or a law
: to give (someone) an unfair disadvantage


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.

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Comments on penalize

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