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

Soon after, in the biggest fight of their young union, Jamie follows Scottish tradition and punishes Claire for not obeying him. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "Outlander's Sex Scenes Are More Than Hot—They're Genuinely Feminist," 7 Dec. 2018 Our culture rewards men for talking up their achievements and punishes women for doing the same, studies show. Andrea Bartz, Good Housekeeping, "Look, I'm a Self-Promoting Woman. And I’m Not Apologizing for It.," 14 Feb. 2019 Arnold apparently enjoyed his time in the military, though he was punished for an impromptu high speed downhill tank race with a six hour crawl through an obstacle course. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch Arnold Schwarzenegger Crush a Limo With His Own Tank," 30 July 2018 But cholera is vicious and really punishes complacency. Richard Conniff, Scientific American, "New Probiotic Cholera Vaccine Can Outrace the Infection’s Rapid Spread," 13 June 2018 But red dwarfs are incredibly active stars, frequently firing off superpowerful flares that can bathe orbiting worlds in punishing radiation. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Could Alien Life Handle the Radiation in 3-Star Alpha Centauri System?," 12 June 2018 International football punishes inward-looking countries and rewards those with more cosmopolitan attitudes. The Economist, "For all its faults, the World Cup in Russia is worth celebrating," 9 June 2018 Building a reliable defense in the fastest, most punishing league in soccer is painstaking work. Mike Sudal, WSJ, "English Soccer’s Flying Dutchman," 1 Apr. 2019 With its richly developed characters and beautiful, devastating prose, Jones’ masterpiece serves as a powerful statement on how an injustice punishes the whole family, not just the innocent man behind bars. Marie Claire, "These Are the Best Books of 2018, According to Our Editors," 15 Oct. 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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Learn More about punish

Dictionary Entries near punish

punie

punies

Puning

punish

punishableness

punishment

punition

Statistics for punish

Last Updated

19 May 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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