Definition of punitive
: inflicting, involving, or aiming at punishment severe punitive measures
Examples of punitive in a Sentence
The federal government will take punitive action against the company that polluted the river.
Lobbyists complain that the bill would impose punitive taxes on the industry.
Recent Examples of punitive from the Web
All have condemned the antidrug campaign and threatened punitive actions should the human rights violations continue.
The lawsuit seeks class action status, requests a jury trial and asks for both punitive and compensatory damages from the sheriff and more than two dozen deputies.
Dollar Express seeks damages to be determined at trial, including punitive damages, the suit says.
The network has also argued that punitive and treble damages can’t be recovered and is challenging the constitutionality of South Dakota’s treble damage provision.
A more measured — and less punitive — approach might be warranted.
A federal judge in San Francisco issued a restraining order against the federal government from taking punitive actions against municipalities.
The situation reports describe TigerSwan’s frustration with the amount of leeway some law enforcement gave protesters in Iowa and the company’s efforts to convince officers to use more punitive tactics.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones ruled that Tolkien’s charitable trust established a legal foundation for fraud against New Line Cinema, but that it is barred from seeking punitive damages, according to the Associated Press.
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
First Known Use: 1593
PUNITIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of punitive for English Language Learners
: intended to punish someone or something
: extremely or unfairly severe or high
Legal Definition of punitive
: inflicting, involving, or aiming at punishment
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