View synonyms for punish


[ puhn-ish ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to subject to pain, loss, confinement, death, etc., as a penalty for some offense, transgression, or fault:

    The goal of the court is to punish the criminal for the crime he has committed.

    Synonyms: penalize, discipline, castigate, chastise

    Antonyms: reward

  2. to inflict a penalty for (an offense, fault, etc.):

    Unconditional imprisonment is imposed to punish past transgressions.

    Synonyms: penalize

    Antonyms: reward

  3. to mistreat, abuse, or hurt:

    Additional tariffs will punish working families with higher prices on household basics.

  4. to handle severely or roughly, as in a fight.
  5. to put to painful exertion, as a horse in racing.
  6. Informal. to make a heavy inroad on; deplete:

    to punish a quart of whiskey.

verb (used without object)

  1. to inflict punishment.


/ ˈpʌnɪʃ /


  1. to force (someone) to undergo a penalty or sanction, such as imprisonment, fines, death, etc, for some crime or misdemeanour
  2. tr to inflict punishment for (some crime, etc)
  3. tr to use or treat harshly or roughly, esp as by overexertion

    to punish a horse

  4. informal.
    tr to consume (some commodity) in large quantities

    to punish the bottle

“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

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Derived Forms

  • ˈpunishing, adjective
  • ˈpunisher, noun
  • ˈpunishingly, adverb
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Other Words From

  • pun·ish·er noun
  • o·ver·pun·ish verb
  • pre·pun·ish verb (used with object)
  • qua·si-pun·ished adjective
  • re·pun·ish verb
  • self-pun·ished adjective
  • un·pun·ished adjective
  • well-pun·ished adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of punish1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English punischen, from Middle French puniss-, long stem of punir, from Latin pūnīre; akin to poena penalty, pain
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Word History and Origins

Origin of punish1

C14 punisse, from Old French punir, from Latin pūnīre to punish, from poena penalty
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Synonym Study

Punish, correct, discipline refer to making evident public or private disapproval of violations of law, wrongdoing, or refusal to obey rules or regulations by imposing penalties. To punish is chiefly to inflict penalty or pain as a retribution for misdeeds, with little or no expectation of correction or improvement: to punish a thief. To correct is to reprove or inflict punishment for faults, specifically with the idea of bringing about improvement: to correct a rebellious child. To discipline is to give a kind of punishment that will educate or will establish useful habits: to discipline a careless driver.
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Example Sentences

Silver said in December that he hoped that players would stand for the anthem, but that he wouldn’t punish players who protested.

Students will not be punished for using single-use plastics on campus, but school officials plan to offer enough alternatives so that students will not need to rely on plastics, Chapple said.

To his credit, when he was in a position to financially punish me for saying no, he did not.

From Ozy

Those videos and other stuff happened before any of us were on the team, and it feels like we’re being punished.

Each practice session was planned to the minute, and players were punished if they were late.

Instead, it appears that the Obama administration has opted to punish North Korea financially.

And the law can easily be used as a political tool to punish any disrespect of the state.

Did North Korea hack Sony to punish them for a Seth Rogen movie that taunts Kim Jong-un?

Asked, if Christie is so terrible, why he would want to punish the people of the Garden State with his presence, Tancredo laughed.

And is it right for us to withhold assistance and punish civilians?

To punish the habit, a Turk was seized and a pipe transfixed through his nose.

The children of Israel, having been sent out by Jahweh to punish the Midianites, "slew all the males."

The apprehension that God will punish for not making fulfilment to him accompanies equally the oath and the vow.

And to punish himself while this reaction lasted, he would seek her out and see that she inflicted the punishment itself.

Oh, madame, I tell you you do but waste time, and you punish me and harass yourself to little purpose.





Punic Warspunishable