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

Fresenius entered into a nonprosecution agreement with the Justice Department and agreed to pay a total criminal penalty of $84.7 million. Michael Dabaie, WSJ, "Fresenius to Pay More Than $231 Million to Resolve Foreign Corruption Probe," 29 Mar. 2019 That’s a penalty that is high not just for men as individuals, but for our society, because in the end, that equation that is so punishing to them comes out in high rates of suicide and violence against other people. Anna North, Vox, "Women made historic gains in 2018. But in so many ways, it was still the Year of the Man.," 27 Dec. 2018 Among other provisions, the bill suggests creating a penalty of 10 to 20 years imprisonment for senior executives who fail to follow new rules around data use. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Sen. Ron Wyden proposes bill that could jail executives who mishandle consumer data," 1 Nov. 2018 In the divorce settlement, there was a strict stipulation that lasted until January 2015, which stated that Simon was required to stay away from the couple's son, Adam, or face a $50,000 penalty. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Simon Cowell and Partner Lauren Silverman Have a Controversial Love Story," 18 Sep. 2018 Microsoft eventually successfully appealed the court's original decision that Microsoft be split into two separate companies and escaped with a far smaller penalty. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "What's Behind Google's Enormous $5 Billion Fine from the EU," 18 July 2018 Australia, the only other team to score against Les Bleus, did so with a penalty. John Leicester, chicagotribune.com, "Five reasons why France will win the World Cup final," 14 July 2018 Under the deal, ZTE was required to pay a $1 billion penalty, put $400 million in escrow with an American bank, overhaul its leadership and allow a team of compliance monitors to be installed inside the company for 10 years. Claire Ballentine, New York Times, "U.S. Lifts Ban That Kept ZTE From Doing Business With American Suppliers," 13 July 2018 The short-term benchmark is zero and the rate on money deposited by banks at the ECB is minus 0.4 percent, a penalty aimed at pushing the bank to lend the money rather than keep it at the ECB. Washington Post, "Trade war fears a clear concern of European bank officials," 12 July 2018

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

14 Apr 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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