verb (used with object), dis·ci·plined, dis·ci·plin·ing.

Origin of discipline

1175–1225; Middle English < Anglo-French < Latin disciplīna instruction, tuition, equivalent to discipul(us) disciple + -ina -ine2
Related formsdis·ci·pli·nal [dis-uh-pluh-nl, -plin-l, dis-uh-plahyn-l] /ˈdɪs ə plə nl, -ˌplɪn l, ˌdɪs əˈplaɪn l/, adjectivedis·ci·plin·er, nounmul·ti·dis·ci·pline, nounnon·dis·ci·plin·ing, adjectiveo·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

Synonyms for discipline

Synonym study

12. See punish.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for discipline



training or conditions imposed for the improvement of physical powers, self-control, etc
systematic training in obedience to regulations and authority
the state of improved behaviour, etc, resulting from such training or conditions
punishment or chastisement
a system of rules for behaviour, methods of practice, etc
a branch of learning or instruction
the laws governing members of a Church
a scourge of knotted cords

verb (tr)

to improve or attempt to improve the behaviour, orderliness, etc, of by training, conditions, or rules
to punish or correct
Derived Formsdisciplinable, adjectivedisciplinal (ˌdɪsɪˈplaɪnəl, ˈdɪsɪˌplɪnəl), adjectivediscipliner, noun

Word Origin for discipline

C13: from Latin disciplīna teaching, from discipulus disciple
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

Word Origin and History for discipline

early 13c., "penitential chastisement; punishment," from Old French descepline (11c.) "discipline, physical punishment; teaching; suffering; martyrdom," and directly from Latin disciplina "instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge," also "object of instruction, knowledge, science, military discipline," from discipulus (see disciple (n.)).

Sense of "treatment that corrects or punishes" is from notion of "order necessary for instruction." The Latin word is glossed in Old English by þeodscipe. Meaning "branch of instruction or education" is first recorded late 14c. Meaning "military training" is from late 15c.; that of "orderly conduct as a result of training" is from c.1500.


c.1300; see discipline (n.). Related: Disciplined; disciplines; disciplining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper