[peen-l-ahyz, pen-]

verb (used with object), pe·nal·ized, pe·nal·iz·ing.

to subject to a penalty, as a person.
to declare (an action, deed, etc.) punishable by law or rule.
to put under a disadvantage or handicap.

Also especially British, pe·nal·ise.

Origin of penalize

First recorded in 1865–70; penal + -ize
Related formspe·nal·iz·a·ble, adjectivepe·nal·i·za·tion, nounnon·pe·nal·ized, adjectiveo·ver·pe·nal·i·za·tion, nouno·ver·pe·nal·ize, verb (used with object), o·ver·pe·nal·ized, o·ver·pe·nal·iz··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. 2019

Examples from the Web for penalise

Historical Examples of penalise

  • You know, of course, that the intention of our law is ever to penalise the wrong-doer.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • He tried some curious devices to penalise himself for laziness.

    William Hickling Prescott

    Harry Thurston Peck

  • 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

  • When prevention has been properly taught, then it is fair to penalise those who wilfully neglect to take precautions.

    Safe Marriage

    Ettie A. Rout

  • Moulders do not admit women, and penalise members who give instruction to female workers in any branch.

British Dictionary definitions for penalise



verb (tr)

to impose a penalty on (someone), as for breaking a law or rule
to inflict a handicap or disadvantage on
sport to award a free stroke, point, or penalty against (a player or team)
to declare (an act) legally punishable; make subject to a penalty
Derived Formspenalization 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

Word Origin and History for penalise

chiefly British English spelling of penalize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Penalised; penalising.



1868, from penal + -ize. Related: Penalized; penalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper