Definition of punishment
1 : the act of punishing
2a : suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retributionb : a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure
3 : severe, rough, or disastrous treatment
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.
Recent Examples of punishment from the Web
Lee’s cruelty as a slavemaster was not confined to physical punishment.
Negotiators built flexibility into the deal from the start, structuring the agreement so that individual countries could determine their own commitments -- without any punishment for failing to fulfill them.
A Justice Department official overseeing a new policy encouraging harsher punishments for criminals has more changes in mind.
Instead of gaining the support of co-workers when punishment is threatened, the likeliest outcome is ostracism, because everyone else fears for their job.
Judge Jackson based his ruling on a 2012 Supreme Court decision in an Alabama case that found the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment barred juveniles from being sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Nearly all states already have laws enhancing the punishments for certain violent crimes against law officers.
Alexander Laird, a mother and heroin addict who has been at the center of debate over the care and punishment of pregnant addicts, was arrested against last week for failure to appear in court on a felony.
The bill seeks to go after habitual offenders by increasing the sentencing guidelines for judges deciding punishment for some repeat gun felons.
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.
First Known Use of punishment
PUNISHMENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of punishment for English Language Learners
: the act of punishing someone or a way of punishing someone
: the state of being punished
: rough physical treatment
PUNISHMENT Defined for Kids
Definition of punishment for Students
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
Word Root of punishment
The Latin word poena, meaning “punishment,” gives us the root pen or pun. Words from the Latin poena have something to do with punishments. A penalty is a punishment for doing something wrong. Anything penal, such as a group of laws, explains punishments for specific crimes. Punish and punishment also come from poena.
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
Seen and Heard
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