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 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 Although layoffs normally would cause a business to pay more in unemployment taxes, Executive Order 74 orders the Virginia Employment Commission to not penalize any business for layoffs that occurred from April through June. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Northam order spares Virginia businesses from higher unemployment insurance taxes," 23 Dec. 2020 Following Ohio State’s ugly 22-10 win over Northwestern in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship, Buckeyes Coach Ryan Day pleaded for the selection committee not to penalize his team for the way the pandemic mangled the Big Ten’s 2020 schedule. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "College Football Playoff Is Set: Alabama vs. Notre Dame; Clemson vs. Ohio State," 20 Dec. 2020 For years, state and federal regulators had maintained a hands-off approach to the tech industry, even as watchdogs in Europe and around the world began to probe and penalize Facebook and its digital peers for their practices. Washington Post, "U.S., states file sweeping antitrust lawsuits against Facebook, setting stage for potential breakup," 28 Oct. 2020 According to a Supreme Court ruling this summer, states are allowed to penalize electors who break their pledge to vote for the state’s popular vote winner. Brooklyn White, Essence, "It's Official—All 50 States Have Formally Tallied Votes, Biden Is Clear Winner," 9 Dec. 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

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Penalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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