from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The imposition of a penalty or deprivation for wrongdoing.
  • noun A penalty imposed for wrongdoing.
  • noun Rough treatment or use.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of punishing; the infliction of pain or chastisement.
  • noun Pain, suffering, loss, confinement, or other penalty inflicted on a person for a crime or offense, by the authority to which the offender is subject; a penalty imposed in the enforcement or application of law.
  • noun Pain or injury inflicted, in a general sense; especially, in colloquial use, the pain inflicted by one pugilist on another in a prize-fight.
  • noun Synonyms Chastisement, correction, discipline. See chastise.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of punishing.
  • noun Any pain, suffering, or loss inflicted on a person because of a crime or offense.
  • noun (Law) A penalty inflicted by a court of justice on a convicted offender as a just retribution, and incidentally for the purposes of reformation and prevention.
  • noun Colloq. or Slang Severe, rough, or disastrous treatment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The act or process of punishing, imposing and/or applying a sanction.
  • noun A penalty to punish wrongdoing, especially for crime.
  • noun A suffering by pain or loss imposed as retribution
  • noun figuratively Any treatment or experience so harsh it feels like being punished; rough handling

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

  • noun the act of punishing


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Anglo-Norman punisceement, punisement, punishement, punissement, punisshement and the Middle French punissement, from the Old French pugnissement, from puniss- (the long stem (see the French -iss-) of punir, “to punish”) + -ment (see the English -ment). Compare the English nouns punishing and punition.


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  • Its tenor is, that a bill which proposed, as the punishment of an offence, to levy a certain pecuniary penalty, one half thereof to go to his Majesty and the other half to the informer, was altered in committee, in so far that, when it appeared in the form of an act, _the punishment_ was changed to whipping and imprisonment,

    The Book-Hunter A New Edition, with a Memoir of the Author John Hill Burton

  • To say that the innocent can suffer under the administration of God, is to shock our sense of justice, and put out the light of the divine goodness; but it is all well if we only say that the punishment due to Adam’s sin is made, by the same good administration, to fall upon all his posterity _in the form of moral evil, and that then they are justly punished for this punishment_!

    A Theodicy, or, Vindication of the Divine Glory Albert Taylor Bledsoe 1843

  • "If a supreme ruler, such as the Caliph for the time being, commit any offence punishable by law, such as whoredom, theft, or drunkenness, he is not subject to any punishment; but yet if he commit murder, he is subject to the law of retaliation, and he is also accountable in matters of property: because _punishment_ is a right of

    The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 11 (of 12) Edmund Burke 1763

  • Support for capital punishment is shorthand for this sentiment: Crime is not caused by society; culpability resides in guilty individuals, not flawed institutions.

    The Journey Up From Guilt 2008

  • I asked the psychologist who was teaching the course why the word punishment was conspicuously lacking in his lectures and the course materials.

    Parenting by the Book John Rosemond 2007

  • Downing Street said the word punishment would not be included in the bill, but the proposals set out by Cameron in the wake of the riots would appear.

    The Guardian World News Patrick Wintour 2011

  • Bringing her to punishment is here called making her a public example; which shows what is the end to be aimed at in punishment -- the giving of warning to others: it is in terrorem -- that all about may hear and fear.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John) 1721

  • Nor did he use the term punishment, or spell out any consequences for clergy or bishops who had not upheld canon or civil law.

    NYT > Home Page By RACHEL DONADIO 2010

  • Nor did he use the term punishment, or spell out any consequences for clergy or bishops who had not upheld canon or civil law.

    NYT > Global Home By RACHEL DONADIO 2010

  • Nor did he use the term punishment, or spell out any consequences for clergy or bishops who had not upheld canon or civil law.

    NYT > Home Page By RACHEL DONADIO 2010


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  • Usage:

    "The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man, and give some back."

    --Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), "Deadwood" (created by David Milch)

    February 14, 2007