or poe·nol·o·gy

[ pee-nol-uh-jee ]

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

  2. the study of the management of prisons.

Origin of penology

1830–40; peno- (combining form representing Greek poinḗ penalty) + -logy

Other words from penology

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

Words that may be confused with penology

Words Nearby penology Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use penology in a sentence

  • There are experts who write on penology, and I read them as well.

  • This message from my pen is not a work on criminology or penology.

    After Prison - What? | Maud Ballington Booth
  • Incipient criminals usually started their infamous careers that way; you could read that in any book on penology.

    By Advice of Counsel | Arthur Train
  • The science of the phenomena of crime is called criminology, that of punishment is named penology.

    Society | Henry Kalloch Rowe
  • The new penology covers the investigation and study of every circumstance surrounding the criminal as such.

    A Plea for the Criminal | James Leslie Allan Kayll
  • As has been stated in a previous chapter, the new penology repudiates all such systems.

    A Plea for the Criminal | James Leslie Allan Kayll

British Dictionary definitions for penology


/ (piːˈnɒlədʒɪ) /

  1. the branch of the social sciences concerned with the punishment of crime

  2. the science of prison management

Origin of penology

C19: from Greek poinē punishment
  • Also called: poenology

Derived forms of penology

  • penological (ˌpiːnəˈlɒdʒɪkəl), adjective
  • penologically, adverb
  • penologist, 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