[ peen-l-ahyz, pen- ]
See synonyms for: penalizepenalized on

verb (used with object),pe·nal·ized, pe·nal·iz·ing.
  1. to subject to a penalty, as a person.

  2. to declare (an action, deed, etc.) punishable by law or rule.

  1. to put under a disadvantage or handicap.

Origin of penalize

First recorded in 1865–70; penal + -ize
  • Also especially British, pe·nal·ise .

Other words from penalize

  • pe·nal·iz·a·ble, adjective
  • pe·nal·i·za·tion, noun
  • non·pe·nal·ized, adjective
  • o·ver·pe·nal·i·za·tion, noun
  • o·ver·pe·nal·ize, verb (used with object), o·ver·pe·nal·ized, o·ver·pe·nal·iz·ing.
  • re·pe·nal·ize, verb (used with object), re·pe·nal·ized, re·pe·nal·iz·ing.
  • un·pe·nal·ized, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use penalize in a sentence

  • Special care should be taken that taxation is so adjusted as not to penalise parenthood in the socially valuable middle class.

    Outspoken Essays | William Ralph Inge
  • Moulders do not admit women, and penalise members who give instruction to female workers in any branch.

    Women in Modern Industry | B. L. Hutchins
  • But in fact, to penalise rebellion in some sort was an absolute necessity; not to have done so would have jeopardised the throne.

    Ten Tudor Statesmen | Arthur D. Innes
  • You will never find expert players, who appreciate what I may call the geometry of the court, penalise themselves in this manner.

    Lawn Tennis for Ladies | Mrs. Lambert Chambers
  • He tried some curious devices to penalise himself for laziness.

    William Hickling Prescott | Harry Thurston Peck

British Dictionary definitions for penalize



/ (ˈpiːnəˌlaɪz) /

  1. to impose a penalty on (someone), as for breaking a law or rule

  2. to inflict a handicap or disadvantage on

  1. sport to award a free stroke, point, or penalty against (a player or team)

  2. to declare (an act) legally punishable; make subject to a penalty

Derived forms of penalize

  • penalization or penalisation, noun

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