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[puhn-ish-muh nt] /ˈpʌn ɪʃ mənt/
the act of punishing.
the fact of being punished, as for an offense or fault.
a penalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc.
severe handling or treatment.
Origin of punishment
1250-1300; Middle English punysshement < Anglo-French punisement, Old French punissement. See punish, -ment
Related forms
nonpunishment, noun
overpunishment, noun
prepunishment, noun
propunishment, adjective
repunishment, noun
self-punishment, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for punishment
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was a part of his punishment, and the one which lasted longest.

    St. Winifred's Frederic W. Farrar
  • Though the native had acted wrongly, death was too severe a punishment for his fault.

    Captain Cook W.H.G. Kingston
  • They have been thought fitter objects 205 of pity, than of punishment.

  • I don't propose to run away from duty or punishment, Mr. Fogg.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • Overtaken in a fault and threatened with punishment, he is tempted to lie.

    In the School-Room John S. Hart
British Dictionary definitions for punishment


a penalty or sanction given for any crime or offence
the act of punishing or state of being punished
(informal) rough treatment
(psychol) any aversive stimulus administered to an organism as part of training
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for punishment

late 14c., from Anglo-French punisement (late 13c.), Old French punissement, from punir (see punish). Meaning "rough handling" is from 1811.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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punishment in the Bible

The New Testament lays down the general principles of good government, but contains no code of laws for the punishment of offenders. Punishment proceeds on the principle that there is an eternal distinction between right and wrong, and that this distinction must be maintained for its own sake. It is not primarily intended for the reformation of criminals, nor for the purpose of deterring others from sin. These results may be gained, but crime in itself demands punishment. (See MURDER ØT0002621; THEFT.) Endless, of the impenitent and unbelieving. The rejection of this doctrine "cuts the ground from under the gospel...blots out the attribute of retributive justice; transmutes sin into misfortune instead of guilt; turns all suffering into chastisement; converts the piacular work of Christ into moral influence...The attempt to retain the evangelical theology in connection with it is futile" (Shedd).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with punishment


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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