: to subject to severe punishment, reproof, or criticism
Before sentencing, the judge angrily castigated the two young defendants for their malicious act of vandalism.
"You know, if [dandelions] weren't castigated as the No. 1 lawn weed, we all probably would love them. With their sunny little faces looking upward toward the sky and the strong, pointed green foliage, they really are beautiful plants." — Mary Stickley-Godinez, The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, VA), 24 Apr. 2017
Did You Know?
Castigate has a synonym in chastise. Both verbs mean to punish or to censure someone. Fittingly, both words derive from the same root: the Latin castigare, formed from the words for "pure" (castus) and "to drive" (agere). (Castus also gave us the noun caste, meaning "social class or rank.") Another verb derived from castigare is chasten, which can also mean "to discipline by punishment" but more commonly means "to subdue or make humble" (as in "chastened by his foolish error"). Castigate is the youngest of the three verbs in English, dating from the early 17th century, while chasten dates to the early 16th century and chastise has been found in use as far back as the 14th.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective derived from Latin agere that can mean "having power to compel" or "convincing": c_ g _ _ t.VIEW THE ANSWER