1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
  2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
  3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
  4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
  5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
  6. a set or system of rules and regulations.
  7. Ecclesiastical. the system of government regulating the practice of a church as distinguished from its doctrine.
  8. 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.
  9. a branch of instruction or learning: the disciplines of history and economics.
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.
  3. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.

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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for multidiscipline


  1. training or conditions imposed for the improvement of physical powers, self-control, etc
  2. systematic training in obedience to regulations and authority
  3. the state of improved behaviour, etc, resulting from such training or conditions
  4. punishment or chastisement
  5. a system of rules for behaviour, methods of practice, etc
  6. a branch of learning or instruction
  7. the laws governing members of a Church
  8. a scourge of knotted cords
verb (tr)
  1. to improve or attempt to improve the behaviour, orderliness, etc, of by training, conditions, or rules
  2. 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 multidiscipline



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