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 joint policy empowers MLB commissioner Rob Manfred with substantial authority and discretion to investigate and punish players facing such accusations. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "The Murky Future for Pirates Pitcher Felipe Vazquez," 17 Sep. 2019 Amazon warehouse employees have been blowing the whistle about punishing working conditions and organizing walkouts for years—most recently in July on Amazon’s high holiday, Prime Day. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Even Jeff Bezos can’t afford to ignore his employees’ climate-change demands," 13 Sep. 2019 Johnson experienced some rough moments during the preseason, including being kicked out of practice early after delivering some punishing hits in a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers that led to a scuffle and caused two injuries. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans' Lonnie Johnson: 'They didn't bring me here to sit on the bench'," 12 Sep. 2019 However, Willis’ supporters said she and her younger sister, Dreamer Kowatch, should be rewarded for their talent, not punished. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Alaska Ref Disqualifies 'Curvier' High School Swimmer Over Wedgie: She's Being 'Singled Out'," 10 Sep. 2019 Olivia also tells Nora that punishing her son's murderer unfortunately won't bring him home. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Here's How Season 3 Ended for Every Character in "13 Reasons Why"," 28 Aug. 2019 In 2011, Kiers’ team reported in Science that not only can plants reward high-performing fungal partners and punish poor performers, fungi apparently do the same. Quanta Magazine, "Soil’s Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests," 27 Aug. 2019 However, after the duo are caught and punished, Tyler is sent away for a month try and work on his anger issues. Rachel Paige, refinery29.com, "Tyler's 13 Reasons Why Season 2 Struggle Isn't Going To Just Go Away In Season 3," 24 Aug. 2019 Richard Bistrong, a compliance consultant who was jailed by a Washington, DC, court for paying bribes as a defense industry executive, says punishing people at the top is a crucial element in deterring white collar crime. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "Malaysia says Goldman Sachs bosses should face jail for the bank’s alleged role in a corruption scandal," 9 Aug. 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 entry 1

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Learn More about punish

Dictionary Entries near punish

punie

punies

Puning

punish

punishableness

punishment

punition

Statistics for punish

Last Updated

22 Sep 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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