punish

verb
pun·​ish | \ ˈpə-nish How to pronounce punish (audio) \
punished; punishing; punishes

Definition of punish

transitive verb

1a : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation
b : to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation
2a : to deal with roughly or harshly
b : to inflict injury on : hurt

Other Words from punish

punishability \ ˌpə-​nish-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce punish (audio) \ noun
punishable \ ˈpə-​nish-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce punish (audio) \ adjective
punisher noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for punish

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for punish

punish, chastise, castigate, chasten, discipline, correct mean to inflict a penalty on in requital for wrongdoing. punish implies subjecting to a penalty for wrongdoing. punished for stealing chastise may apply to either the infliction of corporal punishment or to verbal censure or denunciation. chastised his son for neglecting his studies castigate usually implies a severe, typically public censure. an editorial castigating the entire city council chasten suggests any affliction or trial that leaves one humbled or subdued. chastened by a landslide election defeat discipline implies a punishing or chastening in order to bring under control. parents must discipline their children correct implies punishing aimed at reforming an offender. the function of prison is to correct the wrongdoer

Examples of punish in a Sentence

I think that murderers should be punished by life imprisonment. She was punished for lying. His parents punished him by taking away his allowance. How should I punish my child's misbehavior? State law punishes fraud with fines.
Recent Examples on the Web Please do not second-guess or punish yourself for protecting yourself. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 16 May 2022 Meanwhile, the remainder of the developed world seeks to wage financial war on the Russian state in order to punish it for its unjustifiable hostility and, above all, stop the fighting. Tim Maurer, Forbes, 15 May 2022 And that’s what a hitter is supposed to do, they’re supposed to punish it. Lamond Pope, Chicago Tribune, 14 May 2022 The other is that the right to identify individuals as war criminals and punish them for their deeds is really just one of the spoils of victory. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, 11 May 2022 But the system that built Putin's riches has also frustrated U.S. and European efforts to punish him. Amy Nakamura, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 Huggins and his team stopped talking to the writer for a while, to punish us. The Enquirer, 7 Apr. 2022 Historians trace scarring and tattooing back to ancient civilizations when slave owners inflicted permanent marks on slaves to indicate their ownership or to punish them after escape attempts. Ashley Abramson, Allure, 30 Mar. 2022 Although Greenberg was forced to spend the next year working at a middle school, an arbitrator eventually ruled that the school district had inappropriately used a transfer to punish him, and permitted him to return to his old job. Rachel M. Cohen, The New Republic, 28 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of punish

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for punish

Middle English punisshen, from Anglo-French puniss-, stem of punir, from Latin punire, from poena penalty — more at pain entry 1

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Time Traveler for punish

Time Traveler

The first known use of punish was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near punish

Puning

punish

punishableness

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Statistics for punish

Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Punish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punish. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for punish

punish

verb
pun·​ish | \ ˈpə-nish How to pronounce punish (audio) \
punished; punishing

Kids Definition of punish

1 : to make suffer for a fault or crime The child was punished for lying.
2 : to make someone suffer for (as a crime) The law punishes theft.

Choose the Right Synonym for punish

punish and discipline mean to put a penalty on someone for doing wrong. punish means giving some kind of pain or suffering to the wrongdoer often rather than trying to reform the person. The criminals were punished with life imprisonment. discipline is used of punishing the wrongdoer but usually includes an effort to bring the person under control. Parents must discipline their children.

punish

transitive verb
pun·​ish | \ ˈpə-nish How to pronounce punish (audio) \

Legal Definition of punish

1 : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation
2 : to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation or as a deterrent

intransitive verb

: to inflict punishment

Other Words from punish

punishability \ ˌpə-​ni-​shə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce punish (audio) \ noun
punishable \ ˈpə-​ni-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce punish (audio) \ adjective
punisher noun

More from Merriam-Webster on punish

Nglish: Translation of punish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of punish for Arabic Speakers

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