punitive

play
adjective pu·ni·tive \ˈpyü-nə-tiv\

Definition of punitive

  1. :  inflicting, involving, or aiming at punishment severe punitive measures

punitively

adverb

punitiveness

noun

Examples of punitive in a Sentence

  1. The federal government will take punitive action against the company that polluted the river.

  2. Lobbyists complain that the bill would impose punitive taxes on the industry.

Recent Examples of punitive from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Punitive is an important word in the law. When you sue a person or company for having wronged you in some way, you normally ask for something of value equal to what you were deprived of by the other party. But when the defendant has done something particularly bad, you may also ask for punitive damages, money over and above the actual cost of the harm done, intended to teach the defendant a lesson. Punitive damages are fairly rare, but when they're actually granted they may be as much as four times the size of the basic damages.

Origin and Etymology of punitive

French punitif, from Medieval Latin punitivus, from Latin punitus, past participle of punire


PUNITIVE Defined for English Language Learners

punitive

play
adjective

Definition of punitive for English Language Learners

  • : intended to punish someone or something

  • : extremely or unfairly severe or high


Law Dictionary

punitive

play
adjective pu·ni·tive \ˈpyü-nə-tiv\

Legal Definition of punitive

  1. :  inflicting, involving, or aiming at punishment

punitively

adverb

punitiveness

noun


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