[ pen-l-tee ]
See synonyms for: penaltypenalties on

noun,plural pen·al·ties.
  1. a punishment imposed or incurred for a violation of law or rule.

  2. a loss, forfeiture, suffering, or the like, to which one subjects oneself by nonfulfillment of some obligation.

  1. something that is forfeited, as a sum of money.

  2. a disadvantage imposed upon one of the competitors or upon one side for infraction of the rules of a game, sport, etc.

  3. consequence or disadvantage attached to any action, condition, etc.

Origin of penalty

1505–15; ≪ Medieval Latin poenālitās.See penal, -ty2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use penalty in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for penalty


/ (ˈpɛnəltɪ) /

nounplural -ties
  1. a legal or official punishment, such as a term of imprisonment

  2. some other form of punishment, such as a fine or forfeit for not fulfilling a contract

  1. loss, suffering, or other unfortunate result of one's own action, error, etc

  2. sport games a handicap awarded against a player or team for illegal play, such as a free shot at goal by the opposing team, loss of points, etc

Origin of penalty

C16: from Medieval Latin poenālitās penalty; see penal

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