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
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.
Recent Examples of penalty from the Web
Beem was given a one-shot penalty when his ball moved on the second green (giving him an 8).
The 1987 law raised the age to 16, and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the law should retroactively be applied to Cooper, sparing her from the death penalty.
The Republican plan replaces that mandate with penalties for those who let coverage lapse, and aims to entice young adults by allowing insurance companies to sell bare-bones coverage that could be cheaper.
But now, those last-minute changes could prove costly as more hotels impose 48-hour minimums for canceling a stay without penalty.
Morgan’s score on the penalty kick came in the 38th minute, but FCKC (3-7-4) finished the first half on a positive note, creating several chances before the break.
Between 2009 and 2014 at least 15 EU countries sentenced journalists to criminal penalties, including fines and jail, for insults and defamation.
Investigations by the Justice Department and other American regulators, The New York Times notes, are ongoing and could mean more settlements and penalties, so C.F.O. Ewen Stevenson might not want to put his checkbook away just yet.
Revenge porn is a crime, and the penalty ranges from up to six months in prison to a fine of $1,000.
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.
Origin and Etymology of penalty
Middle English penalte, from Middle French penalité, from Medieval Latin poenalitas, from Latin poenalis
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
PENALTY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of penalty for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of penalty for Students
1 : punishment for doing something wrong
2 : a disadvantage given for breaking a rule in a sport or game
Word Root of penalty
The Latin word poena, meaning “punishment,” gives us the root pen or pun. Words from the Latin poena have something to do with punishments. A penalty is a punishment for doing something wrong. Anything penal, such as a group of laws, explains punishments for specific crimes. Punish and punishment also come from poena.
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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