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
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    avenge, retaliate, revenge
    take revenge for a perceived wrong
    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
    punish by putting in a pillory
    inflict severe punishment on
    punish with an arbitrary penalty
    victimise, victimize
    punish unjustly
    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
    kill by nailing onto a cross
    burn at the stake
    hang, string up
    kill by hanging
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