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

The culprits could be punished by a fine up to $2,500, a year in jail, or both. Fox News, "Protester filmed screaming 'I hate Ted Cruz,' tearing up signs in Houston neighborhood," 18 Oct. 2018 City investigators soon received reports of more unusual activities, such as staffers being punished by having to eat an entire pizza in one sitting. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: Misconduct alleged at L.A.'s Building and Safety agency," 16 June 2018 And on Tuesday, Sanford became the latest Republican punished by voters for criticizing Trump, losing narrowly to state Rep. Katie Arrington. Eric Bradner, CNN, "Another Trump critic falls and 5 other things we learned from Tuesday's primaries," 13 June 2018 The successor to Lagerfeld will be mindful of following in his hugely creative footsteps, as well as his punishing work ethic. Andrea Felsted, The Seattle Times, "Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy is more than just Chanel suits," 19 Feb. 2019 Miller-Keyes went on to say that one of the assaulters was expelled, but two others were never punished. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The Bachelor's MeToo Moment," 29 Jan. 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 If any of them is willing to come before the committee, that judge likely will face a different but still-punishing gauntlet that Kavanaugh has run. Doug Mckelway, Fox News, "If Kavanaugh nomination fails, here's who could be next in line," 26 Sep. 2018 The school eventually stopped calling the Harts, records show, after realizing the children were being punished. Joe Heim And Julie Tate, Houston Chronicle, "As Hart children begged for help, system failed them," 12 July 2018

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

10 Mar 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

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