punishment

noun
pun·​ish·​ment | \ ˈpə-nish-mənt How to pronounce punishment (audio) \

Definition of punishment

1 : the act of punishing
2a : suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retribution
b : a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure
3 : severe, rough, or disastrous treatment

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of punishment in a Sentence

I took away my daughter's car keys as a punishment for her bad behavior. The punishments that the government has inflicted on the protesters are severe and unjust. The punishment for murder is life imprisonment. Some religions teach that wicked people will suffer eternal punishment in hell after they die.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Gypsy says that Dee Dee then tied her to the bed for two weeks as her punishment. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "How Gypsy Rose Blanchard's Age Remained a Mystery Her Whole Life," 22 Mar. 2019 Current punishments for violations range from discipline to suspension and expulsion. Brady Mccombs, The Seattle Times, "Students at Mormon-owned BYU urge honor code compassion," 12 Apr. 2019 The retired pope’s words are in striking contrast with the Vatican’s policy under Pope Francis, which has increasingly emphasized the rights of the accused and reduced punishments for abusers on appeal. ... Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Retired Pope Blames Child Abuse Scandal on the 1960s Sexual Revolution," 11 Apr. 2019 By classifying lynching and attempted lynching as a federal hate crime, the bill enables judges to impose additional sentencing enhancements on top of any other charges when determining the punishment for those convicted of such crimes. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "By passing the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act this week, the Senate acknowledged its role in decades of racial terrorism.," 21 Dec. 2018 In the meantime, Soa is plotting ever more dire punishments for anyone who does attempt to steal her current crop. Aryn Baker/sahabevava, Time, "Vanilla Is Nearly as Expensive as Silver. That Spells Trouble for Madagascar," 13 June 2018 To others, the cases are not meant to achieve public policy goals, but as a balm for grieving families or punishment for a callous act. Rosa Goldensohn, Anchorage Daily News, "They shared drugs. Someone died. Who is responsible?," 25 May 2018 Maybe this should be the punishment for all the parents involved in Operation Varsity Blues, but what on earth did Amy do to deserve this? Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Big Bang Theory," 19 Apr. 2019 Authoritarian parents are also more likely to resort to harsh punishments. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Five Types of Parenting Styles, Explained — And How They Affect Kids, According to Experts," 1 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punishment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of punishment

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about punishment

Statistics for punishment

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for punishment

The first known use of punishment was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for punishment

punishment

noun

English Language Learners Definition of punishment

: the act of punishing someone or a way of punishing someone
: the state of being punished
: rough physical treatment

punishment

noun
pun·​ish·​ment | \ ˈpə-nish-mənt How to pronounce punishment (audio) \

Kids Definition of punishment

1 : the act of making a wrongdoer suffer : the state of being made to suffer for wrongdoing
2 : the penalty for a wrong or crime

punishment

noun
pun·​ish·​ment

Legal Definition of punishment

1 : the act of punishing
2 : a penalty (as a fine or imprisonment) inflicted on an offender through the judicial and especially criminal process — see also cruel and unusual punishment

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on punishment

What made you want to look up punishment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!