- 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.
Origin of penal
- of, relating to, constituting, or prescribing punishment
- payable as a penaltya penal sum
- used or designated as a place of punishmenta penal institution
Word Origin for penal
"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").