pe·​nal·​ize | \ ˈpē-nə-ˌlīz , ˈpe- \
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 \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for penalize


castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, discipline, punish


excuse, pardon, spare

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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

The current policy, which doesn’t penalize players for kneeling, could be kept in place. John Mcclain, Houston Chronicle, "Commissioner Roger Goodell discusses issues on last day of NFL meetings," 28 Mar. 2018 The Seahawks were penalized 14 times for 148 yards in the loss. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Instant analysis: Three impressions from the Seahawks’ 26-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers," 16 Dec. 2018 During the caution between the second and third stages, Truex's team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire, dropping him to 19th place. Fox News, "Kyle Busch wins NASCAR Richmond race from the back of the pack," 24 Sep. 2018 Scooter riders could be penalized for riding on sidewalks, as is forbidden in current city code. Faith E. Pinho, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis scooters: What the proposed regulations could mean," 13 July 2018 Painters or artists who sell their works without state authorization also could be penalized. Nora Gámez Torres, miamiherald, "Cuba imposes more taxes and controls on private sector and increases censorship on the arts," 10 July 2018 Chevrolets fielded by Hendrick Racing qualified first, second and fourth, and Jimmie Johnson had a legitimate chance to win but was penalized a lap for pitting outside the designated pit box, then was taken out in the crash on Lap 163. Edgar Thompson,, "Patriotism gets big boost at Daytona," 8 July 2018 The company had first been penalized in May 2017 for illegally exporting U.S. goods to North Korea and Iran, in violation of trade sanctions. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "A timeline of how the U.S.-China trade war led us to this ‘code red’ situation," 5 July 2018 But in other countries around the world, gay and lesbian couples are often penalized. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Being Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Is a Crime in These Places," 26 June 2018

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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Statistics for penalize

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for penalize

The first known use of penalize was in 1888

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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 , ˈpe-\
penalized; penalizing

Kids Definition of penalize

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on penalize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with penalize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for penalize

Spanish Central: Translation of penalize

Nglish: Translation of penalize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of penalize for Arabic Speakers

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