penalize

When you penalize someone, you punish them. A traffic cop will usually penalize a speeder with an expensive ticket.

A court might penalize a criminal with fines or time in prison, while a frustrated teacher is more likely to penalize the class clown with detention. Sports referees frequently penalize players by allowing the opposing team an advantage of some sort, like a penalty kick in soccer or a free throw in basketball. Penalize is rooted in penal, or "pertaining to punishment." The Greek root is poine, "penalty, punishment, or blood money."

Definitions of penalize
  1. verb
    impose a penalty on; inflict punishment on
    “The students were penalized for showing up late for class”
    synonyms: penalise, punish, sanction
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 13 types...
    hide 13 types...
    avenge, retaliate, revenge
    take revenge for a perceived wrong
    tar-and-feather
    smear the body of (someone) with tar and feathers; done in some societies as punishment
    execute, put to death
    kill as a means of socially sanctioned punishment
    pillory
    punish by putting in a pillory
    castigate
    inflict severe punishment on
    amerce
    punish with an arbitrary penalty
    victimise, victimize
    punish unjustly
    scourge
    punish severely; excoriate
    correct, discipline, sort out
    punish in order to gain control or enforce obedience
    get back, get even
    take revenge or even out a score
    crucify
    kill by nailing onto a cross
    burn
    burn at the stake
    hang, string up
    kill by hanging
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week