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 forms

pe·no·log·i·cal [peen-l-oj-i-kuh l] /ˌpin lˈɒdʒ ɪ kəl/, adjectivepe·nol·o·gist, noun

Can be confused

penal penological punitive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penology

British Dictionary definitions for penology


/ (piːˈnɒlədʒɪ) /


the branch of the social sciences concerned with the punishment of crime
the science of prison management

Also called: poenology

Derived Forms

penological (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