[ dis-uh-plin ]
See synonyms for: disciplinedisciplineddisciplinesdisciplining on Thesaurus.com

  1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.

  2. an activity, exercise, or regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: Sticking to specific and regular mealtimes is excellent discipline for many dieters.

  1. a branch of instruction or learning: the disciplines of history and economics.

  2. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.

  3. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.

  4. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.

  5. a set or system of rules and regulations.

  6. Ecclesiastical. the system of government regulating the practice of a church as distinguished from its doctrine.

  7. an instrument of punishment, especially a whip or scourge, used in the practice of self-mortification or as an instrument of chastisement in certain religious communities.

verb (used with object),dis·ci·plined, dis·ci·plin·ing.
  1. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.

  2. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.

  1. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.

Origin of discipline

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin disciplīna “instruction, tuition,” equivalent to discipul(us) “pupil, learner, trainee” + -ina noun suffix; see origin at disciple; see -ine2

synonym study For discipline

12. See punish.

Other words for discipline

Other words from discipline

  • dis·ci·pli·nal [dis-uh-pluh-nl, -plin-l, dis-uh-plahyn-l], /ˈdɪs ə plə nl, -ˌplɪn l, ˌdɪs əˈplaɪn l/, adjective
  • dis·ci·plin·er, noun
  • mul·ti·dis·ci·pline, noun
  • non·dis·ci·plin·ing, adjective
  • o·ver·dis·ci·pline, verb, o·ver·dis·ci·plined, o·ver·dis·ci·plin·ing.
  • pre·dis·ci·pline, noun, verb (used with object), pre·dis·ci·plined, pre·dis·ci·plin·ing.
  • re·dis·ci·pline, verb (used with object), re·dis·ci·plined, re·dis·ci·plin·ing.
  • sub·dis·ci·pline, noun

Words Nearby discipline

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use discipline in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for discipline


/ (ˈdɪsɪplɪn) /

  1. training or conditions imposed for the improvement of physical powers, self-control, etc

  2. systematic training in obedience to regulations and authority

  1. the state of improved behaviour, etc, resulting from such training or conditions

  2. punishment or chastisement

  3. a system of rules for behaviour, methods of practice, etc

  4. a branch of learning or instruction

  5. the laws governing members of a Church

  6. a scourge of knotted cords

  1. to improve or attempt to improve the behaviour, orderliness, etc, of by training, conditions, or rules

  2. to punish or correct

Origin of discipline

C13: from Latin disciplīna teaching, from discipulus disciple

Derived forms of discipline

  • disciplinable, adjective
  • disciplinal (ˌdɪsɪˈplaɪnəl, ˈdɪsɪˌplɪnəl), adjective
  • discipliner, noun

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