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

transitive verb

: to inflict a penalty on
: to put at a serious disadvantage
penalization noun

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 Share [Findings] The U.S. municipal bond market penalizes communities in proportion to the percentage of their population that is black but generally ignores their vulnerability to climate change. Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, Harper's Magazine, 22 Nov. 2023 The legislature, for its part, has passed laws penalizing power companies that seek to shutter plants. Karin Brulliard, Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2023 The line between recouping costs and penalizing workers for leaving can be blurry, and companies have increasingly taken advantage of that ambiguity. Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Court records show that several freight rail companies rate and rank their managers using metrics that reward them for trains staying on schedule and penalize them for disruptions — even when the delays are caused by safety precautions. Topher Sanders, ProPublica, 15 Nov. 2023 Newsom also pleased environmental activists by vetoing Senate Bill 842 from Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), which critics said would have undermined last year’s law designed to penalize any oil companies found to be price-gouging at the pump. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2023 Documentary filmmaker Jessica Dimmock wrote an open letter campaigning the DGA to adopt a parental leave policy that did not penalize women for getting pregnant. Josefina Santos, Glamour, 16 Oct. 2023 The text of the legislation prohibits TikTok from offering services within Montana and penalizes app store operators from providing the app for download; each offense carries a potential civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation, per day. Brian Fung, CNN, 12 Oct. 2023 These withdrawals won’t be penalized, but they also can’t be delayed. Liz Weston, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'penalize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of penalize was in 1888

Dictionary Entries Near penalize

Cite this Entry

“Penalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pe·​nal·​ize ˈpēn-ᵊl-ˌīz How to pronounce penalize (audio) ˈpen- How to pronounce penalize (audio)
penalized; penalizing
: to give a penalty to
: to place at a disadvantage

More from Merriam-Webster on penalize

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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