from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To subject to a penalty for an offense, sin, or fault.
  • transitive v. To inflict a penalty for (an offense).
  • transitive v. To handle roughly; hurt: My boots were punished by our long trek through the desert.
  • intransitive v. To exact or mete out punishment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To cause to suffer for crime or misconduct, to administer disciplinary action.
  • v. To cause great harm to. (a punishing blow)
  • v. To dumb down severely or to the point of uselessness or near-uselessness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To impose a penalty upon; to afflict with pain, loss, or suffering for a crime or fault, either with or without a view to the offender's amendment; to cause to suffer in retribution; to chasten
  • transitive v. To inflict a penalty for (an offense) upon the offender; to repay, as a fault, crime, etc., with pain or loss.
  • transitive v. To injure, as by beating; to pommel.
  • transitive v. To deal with roughly or harshly; -- chiefly used with regard to a contest.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To inflict a penalty on; visit judicially with pain, loss, confinement, death, or other penalty; castigate; chastise.
  • To reward or visit with pain or suffering inflicted on the offender: applied to the crime or offense: as, to punish murder or theft.
  • To handle severely: as, to punish an opponent in a boxing-match or a pitcher in a baseball game; to punish (that is, to-stimulate by whip or spur) a horse in running a race.
  • To make a considerable inroad on; make away with a good quantity of.
  • Synonyms Chasten, etc. (see chastise), scourge, whip, lash, correct, discipline.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. impose a penalty on; inflict punishment on


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English punissen, punishen, from Old French punir, puniss-, from Latin poenīre, pūnīre, from poena, punishment, from Greek poinē.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English punischen, from Latin punire ("to inflict punishment upon"), from poena ("punishment, penalty"); see pain.


  • _punish_ sin while at the same time He _pardons_ it, -- can punish it in the Substitute while He pardons it in the sinner, -- it is not until he is enabled to apprehend the doctrine of _vicarious_ atonement, that his doubts and fears respecting the possibility and reality of the Divine mercy are removed.

    Sermons to the Natural Man

  • You will not punish -- I say _punish_ -- a gentle girl like her for loving her father too well. "

    The Lights and Shadows of Real Life

  • The idea of using public shame to punish is still with us, by the way.

    The recommended daily allowance

  • In the first line he first uses the word punish, which becomes a recurrent theme in the poem, just as it must have been in his rambling thoughts.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol II No 4

  • Roberto's undoing is his resemblance to her father - she latches on to him as a surrogate who she can "punish" - and I suspect that this goes deeper than his physical appearance.

    DVD Times

  • Our community needs helping hands, and what better way to "punish" - community service would be a win/win situation for all concerned.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • My point is just that I understand why some might use the word punish, because they see a correlation between religion-inspired prudery and lifestyle condemnation and religion-inspired rejection of abortion rights.


  • I'm 1 who has read a version of Paine's Common Sense where on the last page he says "an avidity to punish is to be avoided ..."

    American Justice is At Risk. What Are You Doing About it?

  • From Paine's Common Sense I still like best of him from what I found in 1 version: "an avidity to punish is to be avoided ..."

    THAT DAY, This 9/11, FOX and Bob Dylan

  • When Mao gave the word to punish the marshals, the army did not make a move to support them.

    Wild Swans


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  • Like a pun.

    November 22, 2008

  • '"For shame, Heathcliff!" said I. "It is for God to punish wicked people; we should learn to forgive."

    '"No," he replied. "God won't have the satisfaction that I shall."' -Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

    February 20, 2008