Punishment is the penalty you have to pay when you're caught doing something bad. A teenager's punishment for missing her curfew might be helping her dad clean the garage.

When someone is officially penalized for a mistake or a crime, that's punishment. Stealing a car could result in a punishment involving jail, while pinching your little sister might mean a punishment as mild as sitting in a chair and thinking about ways to be nicer next time. The Latin root of punishment and its related verb, punish, is punire, "punish, correct, take vengeance for, or cause pain for some offense."

Definitions of punishment
  1. noun
    the act of punishing
    synonyms: penalisation, penalization, penalty, sanction
    see moresee less
    show 19 types...
    hide 19 types...
    castigation, chastisement
    verbal punishment
    corporal punishment
    the infliction of physical injury on someone convicted of committing a crime
    cruel and unusual punishment
    punishment prohibited by the 8th amendment to the U.S. Constitution; includes torture or degradation or punishment too severe for the crime committed
    a punishment in which a student must stay at school after others have gone home
    correction, discipline
    the act of punishing
    economic strangulation
    punishment of a group by cutting off commercial dealings with them
    putting someone in prison or in jail as lawful punishment
    medicine, music
    punishment for one's actions
    punishment inflicted on yourself
    threat of a penalty
    penance, self-abasement, self-mortification
    voluntary self-punishment in order to atone for some wrongdoing
    beating, drubbing, lacing, licking, thrashing, trouncing, whacking
    the act of inflicting corporal punishment with repeated blows
    self-punishment inflicted by whipping
    the act of slapping on the buttocks
    electric shock
    the use of electricity to administer punishment or torture
    capital punishment, death penalty, executing, execution
    putting a condemned person to death
    gantlet, gauntlet
    a form of punishment in which a person is forced to run between two lines of men facing each other and armed with clubs or whips to beat the victim
    kick in the butt
    punishment inflicted by kicking the victim in the behind
    lapidation, stoning
    the act of pelting with stones; punishment inflicted by throwing stones at the victim (even unto death)
    type of:
    social control
    control exerted (actively or passively) by group action
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month