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

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Other Words from punish

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for punish

Synonyms

castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, discipline, penalize

Antonyms

excuse, pardon, spare

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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

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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Thus Mr Trump’s tariffs may have caused the decision they were designed to punish. The Economist, "The trade war escalates, and the fog of war descends," 8 Aug. 2019 Bass credited her for signing a letter in April that urged President Donald Trump to punish Chinese officials overseeing human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Matt Egan, CNN, "Hedge fund manager Kyle Bass wants Elizabeth Warren to be president: She 'would be a problem' for China," 8 Aug. 2019 The Lima meeting followed an order by Mr. Trump to freeze all Venezuelan state assets in the United States and to punish any American or foreign firms doing business with Mr. Maduro’s government without special permission. Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, "With Tougher U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela, Bolton Says ‘Time for Dialogue Is Over’," 6 Aug. 2019 De Blasio challenged Biden over what the Department of Justice did to punish the NYPD officer who killed New Yorker Eric Garner by placing him in a choke hold. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "De Blasio calls out Biden — for Eric Garner killing," 1 Aug. 2019 The move to punish Iran's top diplomat had been anticipated after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last month that President Trump had directed him to sanction Zarif, a forceful advocate of Iran's point of view. Author: Carol Morello, Karen Deyoung, Anchorage Daily News, "US sanctions Iran’s foreign minister amid escalating tensions," 31 July 2019 This is not the time to punish your husband for his infidelity. Abigail Van Buren, Twin Cities, "Dear Abby: Revelation at bachelor party throws wedding into question," 18 July 2019 Scripturally and constitutionally, the function of government is to protect its citizens and to punish evildoers within the society. baltimoresun.com, "Letters: After-school soccer club a success; Howard needs a plastic bag ban; and more from readers," 17 July 2019 Politics has a long tail, and this president has a unique talent for seeking to punish those who have sinned against him. Byron Mccauley, Cincinnati.com, "We need more truthtellers like Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose," 16 July 2019

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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near punish

punie

punies

Puning

punish

punishableness

punishment

punition

Statistics for punish

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for punish

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

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More Definitions for punish

punish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of punish

: to make (someone) suffer for a crime or for bad behavior
: to make someone suffer for (a crime or bad behavior)
: to treat (someone or something) severely or roughly

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.
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 punishability (audio) \ noun
punishable \ ˈpə-​ni-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce punishable (audio) \ adjective
punisher noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on punish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with punish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for punish

Spanish Central: Translation of punish

Nglish: Translation of punish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of punish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on punish

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