or poe·nol·o·gy

[ pee-nol-uh-jee ]
/ piˈnɒl ə dʒi /


the study of the punishment of crime, in both its deterrent and its reformatory aspects.
the study of the management of prisons.

Origin of penology

1830–40; peno- (combining form representing Greek poinḗ penalty) + -logy
Related formspe·no·log·i·cal [peen-l-oj-i-kuh l] /ˌpin lˈɒdʒ ɪ kəl/, adjectivepe·nol·o·gist, noun
Can be confusedpenal penological punitive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penological

British Dictionary definitions for penological


/ (piːˈnɒlədʒɪ) /


the branch of the social sciences concerned with the punishment of crime
the science of prison management
Also called: poenology
Derived Formspenological (ˌpiːnəˈlɒdʒɪkəl), adjectivepenologically, adverbpenologist, noun

Word Origin for penology

C19: from Greek poinē punishment
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 penological



"study of punishment and crime prevention," 1838, coined apparently by Francis Lieber, corresponding member of the Philadephia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, from pen- as in penitentiary (ultimately from Latin poena "penalty, punishment;" see penal) + -ology "study of." Related: Penologist; penological.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper