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 New or updated federal and state laws penalize companies that try to pay women unfairly. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "New US Census data shows smallest ever pay gap between working men and women," 12 Sep. 2019 Here are three things insurance regulators, health care advocates and benefits consultants say could be done right now to ensure insurers take appropriate action: State regulators could penalize insurers for failing to report suspected fraud. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "How to Make Health Insurers Take Fraud Seriously," 10 Sep. 2019 State Attorney General William Tong and other Connecticut officials plan to challenge a new federal rule that would penalize legal immigrants who access food stamps, Medicaid, housing vouchers and other benefits. Rebecca Lurye,, "Connecticut officials vow to challenge new federal rule targeting poor immigrants," 12 Aug. 2019 The Trump administration is currently evaluating whether to penalize French wine and other goods in response to France’s tax on digital companies like Inc., Facebook Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Bryce Baschuk, Fortune, "EU Luxury Brands Face WTO-Approved U.S. Tariffs," 16 Sep. 2019 The July 2019 fare hikes continue to unfairly penalize cash-paying riders by charging 50 cents more than the CharlieCard fare for the same Green Line ride., "Should the MBTA institute a discount fare program for low income riders?," 31 Aug. 2019 Now, women in Japan have a new way to penalize their assailants: by stamping them with invisible ink. Brianna Holt, Quartz, "Japan needs more than anti-groping stamps to fix its sexual harassment problem," 30 Aug. 2019 By restricting access to American investment, the United States was able to penalize countries that joined the Soviet sphere. Benjamin Studebaker, The New Republic, "The Real Stakes of Trump’s Trade War With China," 27 Aug. 2019 For years, leaders in the fight against climate change have sought to use international trade as a weapon, pushing world leaders to penalize countries that aren’t stemming warming emissions by restricting trade with them on the global market. Justin Worland, Time, "How Trump Unwittingly Paved the Way for a Climate Change Breakthrough at the G-7," 26 Aug. 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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Statistics for penalize

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for penalize

The first known use of penalize was in 1888

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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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