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penal

[peen-l]
See more synonyms for penal on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. of, relating to, or involving punishment, as for crimes or offenses.
  2. prescribing punishment: penal laws.
  3. constituting punishment: He survived the years of penal hardship.
  4. used as a place of confinement and punishment: a penal colony.
  5. subject to or incurring punishment: a penal offense.
  6. payable or forfeitable as a penalty: a penal sum.
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Origin of penal

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin poenālis, equivalent to poen(a) penalty (< Greek poinḗ fine) + -ālis -al1
Related formspe·nal·i·ty [pi-nal-i-tee] /pɪˈnæl ɪ ti/, nounpe·nal·ly, adverbnon·pe·nal, adjectiveun·pe·nal, adjectiveun·pe·nal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedpenal penological punitivepenal penile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for penal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Mr Haredale is a sufferer from the penal laws, and I can't expect his favour.'

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Our whole conception of rights, and especially of penal law, should then change.

  • At present, penal law is absolutely impotent in this matter.

  • Are you conscious that you are rendering yourself liable to penal servitude?

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • I told him the whole story, but all he said was, 'ten years' penal servitude.'


British Dictionary definitions for penal

penal

adjective
  1. of, relating to, constituting, or prescribing punishment
  2. payable as a penaltya penal sum
  3. used or designated as a place of punishmenta penal institution
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Derived Formspenally, adverb

Word Origin

C15: from Late Latin poenālis concerning punishment, from poena penalty
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 penal

adj.

"pertaining to punishment," mid-15c., from Old French peinal (12c., Modern French pénal) and directly from Medieval Latin penalis, from Latin poenalis "pertaining to punishment," from poena "punishment," from Greek poine "blood-money, fine, penalty, punishment," from PIE *kwoina, from root *kwei- "to pay, atone, compensate" (cf. Greek time "price, worth, honor, esteem, respect," tinein "to pay a price, punish, take vengeance;" Sanskrit cinoti "observes, notes;" Avestan kaena "punishment, vengeance;" Old Church Slavonic cena "honor, price;" Lithuanian kaina "value, price").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper