penal

[ peen-l ]
/ ˈpin l /

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.

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Origin of penal

1400–50; late Middle English <Latin poenālis, equivalent to poen(a) penalty (<Greek poinḗ fine) + -ālis-al1

OTHER WORDS FROM penal

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH penal

1. penal , penological, punitive2. penal , penile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for penal

  • So from Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon, a prison where circled prison cells are watched by a central single tower, to Devil’s Island, the penal colony made famous in the film Papillon, prisons have been designed to punish as much as anything else.

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 forms of penal

penally, 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