penalty

noun
pen·​al·​ty | \ ˈpe-nᵊl-tē How to pronounce penalty (audio) \
plural penalties

Definition of penalty

1 : the suffering in person, rights, or property that is annexed by law or judicial decision to the commission of a crime or public offense trespassing forbidden under penalty of imprisonment
2 : the suffering or the sum to be forfeited to which a person agrees to be subjected in case of nonfulfillment of stipulations A penalty was imposed on the contractor for breach of contract.
3a : disadvantage, loss, or hardship due to some action Loss of privacy is one of the penalties you pay for fame.
b : a disadvantage (such as loss of yardage, time, or possession of the ball or an addition to or subtraction from the score) imposed on a team or competitor for violation of the rules of a sport The team was given a penalty for the foul.
4 : points scored in bridge by the side that defeats the opposing contract usually used in plural

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Other Words from penalty

penalty adjective

Examples of penalty in a Sentence

The company was given a severe penalty for the violation. They allowed him to pay back the money without a penalty. They allowed him to pay back the money without penalty. Lack of privacy is one of the penalties you pay for fame. The hockey player was given a penalty for holding.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Records show the case was never resolved; neither Palmer nor the groups faced any penalties. oregonlive, "Case Closed: In Oregon campaign investigations, ‘I did not’ is all it takes," 17 Sep. 2019 The Ravens committed 10 penalties Sunday, including several costly ones and a few foolish ones. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "In another historic performance, Lamar Jackson fuses old and new to power Ravens’ 23-17 win vs. Cardinals," 16 Sep. 2019 Separately, Interior has moved to relax penalties on energy companies that kill or harm migratory birds by accident (Greenwire, July 26). Adam Aton, Scientific American, "Drilling Could Cause Extinctions in Alaskan Refuge, Government Plan Says," 16 Sep. 2019 Kicker Brandon McManus misses the point-after attempt … but there’s an off-side penalty on Chicago. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Talking Points: Crazy finish allows Chicago to win," 15 Sep. 2019 Both teams were whistled for penalties throughout a chippy night of play, with the Lions picking up 11 fouls and LAFC earning nine. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Three things we learned from Orlando City’s 2-2 draw with LAFC," 10 Sep. 2019 The fact that Republicans zeroed out the penalty for not meeting the requirement of obtaining health care-coverage (the individual mandate) could compound this effect. Washington Post, "Trump’s Skimpy Health Insurance Plans, Coming to a Market Near You," 18 Sep. 2019 The investigation could lead to higher penalties for inaccurate financial statements, new disclosure requirements or other changes in the law, according to the letter signed by Reps. Hannah Knowles, Anchorage Daily News, "Transportation secretary faces investigation over ethics allegations," 17 Sep. 2019 The Lions had 13 of their 17 penalty corners in the first half, but South Carroll (2-3, 0-1) had four after the break and held its own. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Field Hockey: Goetz, Liberty start county slate with win over South Carroll," 17 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penalty.' 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 penalty

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for penalty

Middle English penalte, from Middle French penalité, from Medieval Latin poenalitas, from Latin poenalis

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Statistics for penalty

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for penalty

The first known use of penalty was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for penalty

penalty

noun

English Language Learners Definition of penalty

: punishment for breaking a rule or law
: a disadvantage or difficulty you experience
: a punishment or disadvantage given to a team or player for breaking a rule in a game

penalty

noun
pen·​al·​ty | \ ˈpe-nᵊl-tē How to pronounce penalty (audio) \
plural penalties

Kids Definition of penalty

1 : punishment for doing something wrong
2 : a disadvantage given for breaking a rule in a sport or game

penalty

noun
pen·​al·​ty | \ ˈpen-ᵊl-tē How to pronounce penalty (audio) \
plural penalties

Legal Definition of penalty

1 : a punishment that is imposed on a wrongdoer by statute or judicial decision
2 : a pecuniary sum that by agreement is to be paid by a party who fails to fulfill an obligation to another and that is punitive rather than compensatory the court declined to enforce the contractual penalty and determined actual damages instead

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Comments on penalty

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