punitive damages


plural noun Law.

damages awarded to a plaintiff in excess of compensatory damages in order to punish the defendant for a reckless or willful act.

Nearby words

  1. punisher,
  2. punishing,
  3. punishment,
  4. punition,
  5. punitive,
  6. punitively,
  7. punitory,
  8. punjab,
  9. punjab states,
  10. punjabi


Origin of punitive damages

First recorded in 1970–75

Also called exemplary damages.

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


British Dictionary definitions for exemplary damages

exemplary damages

pl n

law damages awarded to a plaintiff above the value of actual loss sustained so that they serve also as a punishment to the defendant and a deterrent to others
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