punishment

noun
pun·​ish·​ment | \ˈpə-nish-mənt \

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The judge, forced to issue the punishment, called it cruel and unjust. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Jailbreak for Bipartisanship," 15 Nov. 2018 Twitter's first punishment for Jones after that incident was a one-week suspension. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Twitter plays whac-a-mole with Alex Jones, suspends 18 linked accounts," 23 Oct. 2018 The belated firing of Benalla, and an initial light punishment, fed questions about whether the presidency under Macron had a hidden side that answered to no one with Benalla playing a critical role. Elaine Ganley, Fox News, "Ex-aide is star witness of panel probing French crisis," 19 Sep. 2018 Under the city charter, violating the city's ethical standards of conduct can result in a range of punishments, including prosecution. Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit tax official reprimanded for second job in real estate," 10 July 2018 States and school districts focused their energies on avoiding such punishments, often ignoring critical issues like school culture and student engagement. Jack Schneider, The Atlantic, "The Problem With Generalizing About ‘America’s Schools’," 5 July 2018 However, by that date only 18 airlines had done so, despite the authority’s hint that violators would face punishment, including fines or action against their websites. The Economist, "A deadline looms in China’s battle with foreign firms over Taiwan," 5 July 2018 On Sunday, an unconventional candidate prevailed in Mexico’s presidential election, preaching forgiveness, instead of punishment, for Mexico’s drug war criminals. Martha Pskowski, The New Republic, "The Radical Amnesty Plan of Mexico’s Next President," 2 July 2018 The punishments Sears faced ranged from a public reprimand to a revocation of his license, which would have permanently prevented him from practicing medicine in the state. Soumya Karlamangla, latimes.com, "Leading vaccine skeptic Dr. Bob Sears put on probation by California medical board," 29 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of punishment

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for punishment

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

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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 \

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

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