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

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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

House Freedom Caucus members have often been left out of key leadership positions for this reason, serving as a sort of punishment for not being team players. Tara Golshan, Vox, "How a small, Trumpy group of House Republicans wants to keep a check on Democrats," 29 Nov. 2018 Patricia doesn't use running only as a form of a punishment. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions minicamp observations: Mike Singletary makes Day 3 visit," 7 June 2018 Set during the Irish Potato Famine, the song tells the tale of a man who is caught stealing food for his hungry family, and is sent away to serve his punishment in a foreign land. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "20 Best Irish Songs to Help You Celebrate St. Patrick's Day," 13 Feb. 2019 Hamilton was sentenced to seven years' of transportation, meaning he was sent to the colonies to serve out his punishment. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The True Story of How Queen Victoria Survived William Hamilton's Failed Assassination Attempt," 11 Feb. 2019 Things have gotten so bad that our only effective punishment is withdrawal of Minecraft. Steve Brykman, Ars Technica, "Forget Fortnite—my son is still obsessed with Minecraft," 16 Dec. 2018 And with nearly 9 in 10 employers screening the background of prospective candidates, most young people with a criminal history may struggle to find a job for years after serving their punishment. Peter Rezk, Teen Vogue, "America’s Criminal Justice System Is Failing Young People Like Me. Clean Slate Laws Are the Answer," 14 Dec. 2018 No other mammal has the brainpower to organize capital punishment. Richard Wrangham, WSJ, "Humans: The Domesticated Primates," 10 Jan. 2019 There is a lot of focus in several discussions right now on punishment and what will be done to those who violate the code of conduct. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "With Linux’s founder stepping back, will the community change its culture?," 21 Sep. 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

11 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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Comments on punishment

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