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

Jurors interviewed about the steep $2 billion in punitive damages awarded to a California couple expressed the sentiment: someone needing a slap in the face. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Glass of Weedkiller Is Half Empty for Bayer," 14 May 2019 News outlets report that a judge on Thursday awarded Kala Brown $6.3 million in actual and punitive damages in her lawsuit against Todd Kohlhepp. Fox News, "Woman held captive by South Carolina killer awarded $6.3M," 24 Aug. 2018 The suit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions barring the association from removing the toran or directing Tripathi to do so; and seeks awards for actual and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees and costs. Mensah M. Dean, Philly.com, "Lawsuit: Religious symbol unwelcome at luxury Philly condo," 3 May 2018 Paul is seeking up to $500,000 in compensatory damages and up to $1 million in punitive damages. Bruce Schreiner, The Seattle Times, "Rand Paul testifies he feared for his life after 2017 attack," 28 Jan. 2019 In the spirit of comity, Nevada’s Supreme Court tossed several claims and punitive damages but affirmed a $1 million judgment for others. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A California-Nevada Tax Brawl," 8 Jan. 2019 Allred said her client is seeking general and punitive damages to be decided at trial. Nancy Dillon, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Chris Brown accused of trapping woman during nightmare orgy at L.A. mansion," 9 May 2018 The suit asks that Target turn over its profits from the shoes, stop making them, reimburse Vans for attorney fees, and pay punitive damages. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "Can Vans really sue Target for a cheap look-alike of its most famous skater shoe?," 26 Dec. 2018 Related The ruling on Monday diverges from a tentative decision the judge reached earlier this month to completely throw out the $250 million in punitive damages and order a new trial. Jacob Bunge, WSJ, "Judge Reduces Jury Award Against Bayer’s Roundup to $78.5 Million," 23 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of punitive damages

1858, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

23 May 2019

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Time Traveler for punitive damages

The first known use of punitive damages was in 1858

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More Definitions for punitive damages

punitive damages

Legal Definition of punitive damages

see damage sense 2

Comments on punitive damages

What made you want to look up punitive damages? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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