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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for self-punishment
Historical Examples
  • For self-punishment is just as much a submission to the flesh as luxury and self-indulgence.

    The Soul of a People H. Fielding
  • He was also liable to attacks of caprice and self-punishment.

    The Growth of a Soul August Strindberg
  • That action must be her self-punishment for the other time she had done it.

  • No more weary vigils in a room dedicated to remorse and self-punishment.

    Dark Hollow Anna Katherine Green
  • How could he appease the wrath of Him who died on the cross, save by years of bitter supplication and self-punishment?

    Hypatia Charles Kingsley
  • These men are supposed to have raised themselves to a high spiritual state by asceticism and self-punishment.

    The Old World and Its Ways

    William Jennings Bryan
  • But was it from habit, or was it in self-punishment and remorse, that he never took off the cord?

  • Nor, as it was, did she fully understand why he chose to use it—unless that he meant it in self-punishment.

    The Fighting Chance Robert W. Chambers
  • These evidences of an impulse to look on correction as a quite proper thing are corroborated by stories of self-punishment.

    Children's Ways James Sully
  • To this self-punishment, indeed, was attributed the disease of the lungs which ultimately caused his death.

    The Life of Bret Harte Henry Childs Merwin
British Dictionary definitions for self-punishment


the act or an instance of punishing oneself


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 self-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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Idioms and Phrases with self-punishment


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