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penal

[ peen-l ]
/ ˈpin l /
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SEE MORE SYNONYMS FOR penal ON THESAURUS.COM

adjective

of, relating to, or involving punishment, as for crimes or offenses.
prescribing punishment: penal laws.
constituting punishment: He survived the years of penal hardship.
used as a place of confinement and punishment: a penal colony.
subject to or incurring punishment: a penal offense.
payable or forfeitable as a penalty: a penal sum.

RELATED WORDS

punitive, corrective, punishing, reformatory, retributive

Nearby words

pen-, pen-based, pen-friend, pen-pal, pen., penal, penal code, penal servitude, penalise, penality, penalize

Origin of penal

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin poenālis, equivalent to poen(a) penalty (< Greek poinḗ fine) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
Can be confusedpenal penological punitivepenal penile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penal

British Dictionary definitions for penal

penal

/ (ˈpiːnəl) /

adjective

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

Word Origin for penal

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

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").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper