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 penalization (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 Freedom House is among the American human rights organizations penalized by China in retaliation for the United States’ support for protesters in Hong Kong. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "China is waging an aggressive propaganda campaign to distort media landscape, report warns," 15 Jan. 2020 So adults who do put the safety of kids first should be applauded not penalized. oregonlive, "Child molester’s wife sues Mormon church for $9.5 million, says husband is in prison because clergy reported his confession," 8 Jan. 2020 The California app aims to give drivers more say over their own business by allowing them to see a fare before accepting it and to refuse trips without being penalized by Uber's rating system, the Post reported. CBS News, "Judge says freelance journalists missed deadline to challenge California labor law," 6 Jan. 2020 Child and family allowances, in contrast, aren’t affected by earnings, and so don’t penalize work. Samuel Hammond, National Review, "Family-Forward Conservatism Could Be the Future," 18 Dec. 2019 Great to see the committee doesn’t penalize Wisconsin for getting that bonus game against the Buckeyes. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin headed back to the Rose Bowl to face Oregon," 8 Dec. 2019 While large-caps stumbled, their smaller peers shone, thanks partly to an allocation away from multinationals that may be penalized by a stronger dollar. Bloomberg, Fortune, "It Was an Unlucky Week to Throw $8.8 Billion at the Stock Market," 19 May 2018 The bulk of those cases occurred in California, where at least 35 facilities continued to receive Medicaid reimbursements in October after being penalized by state or federal labor regulators. Washington Post, "Probe: Medicaid funds still go to suspect senior care homes," 16 Dec. 2019 Some of those savers penalized by the Federal Reserve's easy money policies have made their displeasure known directly to the central bank's leaders. Matt Egan, CNN, "Angry savers emailed Janet Yellen: We're getting crushed by low rates," 22 Nov. 2019

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

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Penalize.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for penalize


How to pronounce penalize (audio) How to pronounce penalize (audio)

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

What made you want to look up penalize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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