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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Many media outlets accepted whatever emails WikiLeaks published without pausing to verify every detail, and they weren’t punished for their haste. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The 2016 Election Was Just a Dry Run," 11 May 2020 For his complete lack of sins, he is punished with an infinity of ruination. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Ten years later, Lost's most tantalizing mysteries are still 'Across the Sea'," 11 May 2020 Stone, 67, a longtime Republican operative, argues he’s already been punished by his public trial and loss of professional standing. Erik Larson, Bloomberg.com, "Stone Seeks to Avoid Prison as Trump Hints at Pardon in Tweet," 10 May 2020 Beneath the image, Lulu wrote in pencil: We’ve been punished for a lifetime. Justine Van Der Leun, The New Republic, "Death of a Survivor," 3 May 2020 Maybe you’re questioning if you’re being punished for waiting. Allison Mcgevna, Essence, "A Letter Of Hope To Black Women Struggling With Infertility," 25 Apr. 2020 Morgan claimed he was punished by Chief Steve Conrad — a close friend of Brewer — for allegedly meddling in the KSP’s case. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "She says a Kentucky state trooper framed her for murder. Now a jury will hear her lawsuit," 9 Apr. 2020 At the time he was punished, Bachie graded out better than anybody else on the Spartans’ roster, according to Pro Football Focus. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football's Joe Bachie explains suspension, fights uphill battle into NFL," 27 Feb. 2020 They are, theoretically, not punished by the Uber algorithm for rejecting too many rides. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Uber Changes Its Rules, and Drivers Adjust Their Strategies," 18 Feb. 2020

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 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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Statistics for punish

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Punish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punish. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for punish

punish

verb
How to pronounce punish (audio)

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.

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.

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for punish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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