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 recall was organized and pushed by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who was intensely criticized by many legal experts for trying to punish a judge for exercising his discretion. Robin Abcarian, latimes.com, "For sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s child victims, the justice system may finally be working," 10 July 2019 People could, if they were organized enough, vote to install a government that has an explicit mandate to punish fossil fuel companies. Akshat Rathi, Quartz, "Oil companies are confused about the future of oil," 10 July 2019 Rob Radel, a Florida lawyer who has studied the priest-penitent privilege and who has represented churches in abuse cases, said there’s little disagreement across the political spectrum about the need to punish child abusers. John Woolfolk, The Mercury News, "Bill to require California priests to report confessions of child sex abuse on hold," 9 July 2019 These are the Chicago-style tactics employed by RMGO and its cronies to punish Republicans who don’t march in lockstep with their agenda. Joshua Hosler, The Denver Post, "Joshua Hosler: As a former leader in Colorado’s GOP, I’m here to tell you Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is this state’s Taliban," 7 July 2019 Prosecutors alleged the lane closures were part of a deliberate effort to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who did not endorse Republican incumbent Christie in his 2013 re-election bid. Joshua Girsky And Madeleine Thompson, CNN, "Bridgegate aide released from prison," 1 July 2019 Complicating matters, the decision to punish Turkey, or not, for using S-400s isn’t only in the Trump administration’s hands. Alex Leary, WSJ, "Trump Seeks Resolution With Turkey Over Russian Missile Dispute," 29 June 2019 The question of how to punish the kingdom and distance the US from it is not easily answered. Daniel Benjamin, The New York Review of Books, "Reckless in Riyadh," 30 May 2019 The laws as they’re written would mostly be intended to punish doctors. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Women Who Miscarry Could Be Criminally Investigated Under Georgia's New Abortion Law," 15 May 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

14 Jul 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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