View synonyms for chastisement


[ chas-tiz-muhnt, chas-tahyz- ]


  1. severe criticism; a rebuke or strong reprimand.
  2. corporal punishment; a beating.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of chastisement1

First recorded in 1275–1325; chastise + -ment


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More About Chastisement

What does chastisement mean?

Chastisement is “a strong verbal reprimand” or “severe criticism,” such as the scolding a child may face for coloring on the walls—or the talking-to an employee gets for imbibing too much eggnog at the company holiday party.

More commonly in British English, chastisement can also refer to corporal punishment, like a spanking or a beating.

Example: The careless driver had hoped the cop would let her go with a stern chastisement, but the officer wrote her a speeding ticket.

Where does chastisement come from?

Chastisement is a noun form of chastise, “to discipline (physically)” and “criticize severely.” Borrowed into English from French, chastise ultimately comes from the Latin castigāre, “to chasten, punish, correct.”

Many countries around the world, including the U.S., have laws allowing parents—or adults acting in the place of parents, such as teachers—to use corporal punishment on children as long as it doesn’t injure them. The U.K., Ireland, and Australia, among others, refer to this punishment as reasonable chastisement, which is commonly done in the form of smacking (called “spanking” in the U.S.). In 2019, Scotland notably banned such chastisement outright.

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What are some other forms of chastisement?

  • chastise (verb)
  • chastiser (agent noun)

What are some synonyms for chastisement?

What are some words that share a root or word element with chastisement?

What are some words that often get used in discussing chastisement?

  • corporal punishment
  • physical punishment
  • spanking
  • smacking

What are some words chastisement may be commonly confused with?

How is chastisement used in real life?

The verb chastise is widely used for when someone sharply criticizes another, especially in a public or high-profile way. And chastisement is also used to refer to an act of such criticism.


In British English as it is used in the U.K. and around the world, chastisement specifically refers to the corporal punishment of children.

Chastisement is also found in religious contexts, given its use in the King James Bible and English translations of the Qur’an, where it generally refers to physical punishment.

Try using chastisement!

Which of the following is an antonym of chastisement?

A. rebuke
B. scolding
C. tongue-lashing
D. commendation