[ 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. 2024

How to use penalize in a sentence

  • At present the only public recognition of the alcoholic is manifested through some form of penalization.

    Habits that Handicap | Charles B. Towns
  • It will mean the penalization of real worth and the endowment of inferiority and incompetence.

    Applied Eugenics | Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson
  • Hence the crudely ineffective idea of penalization as a preventive.

    Habits that Handicap | Charles B. Towns

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