punitive damages

plural noun

Definition of punitive damages

: damages awarded in excess of compensation to the plaintiff to punish a defendant for a serious wrong

Examples of punitive damages in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Walter indicated that if the case went to trial, the best outcome for Vanessa Bryant would probably be a verdict of punitive damages against the three county employees who could be shown to have taken and/or shared photos of the crash scene. City News Service, Los Angeles Times, 4 Feb. 2022 The original complaint sought more than $6 million in damages, along with punitive damages, interest, costs and attorneys’ fees. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, 24 Nov. 2021 All sought compensatory and unspecified punitive damages, including payment for medical costs as well as $3 million to $10 million for pain and suffering depending on the degree of their injuries. New York Times, 23 Nov. 2021 Plaintiffs' lawyers did not specify a dollar amount for punitive damages, which are imposed to make an example out of the offending party and to deter others from repeating their actions. Nicole Sganga, CBS News, 19 Nov. 2021 Lambach and her husband are seeking compensatory and punitive damages and costs, including attorney's fees. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 Nov. 2021 The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for the loss of the child, emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish and damage to the plaintiffs' personal and professional reputations. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 May 2022 The lawsuit seeks general and punitive damages in amounts to be established at trial. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and lost compensation for current and former black employees at Google, and the restoration to their appropriate positions and seniority. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 19 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of punitive damages

1858, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for punitive damages

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The first known use of punitive damages was in 1858

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Last Updated

12 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Punitive damages.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punitive%20damages. Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for punitive damages

punitive damages

Legal Definition of punitive damages

— see damage sense 2

More from Merriam-Webster on punitive damages

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for punitive damages


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