penalty - definition in the American English Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “penalty”

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penalty

noun [C]  us   /ˈpen·əl·ti/
a punishment, esp. the usual one, for breaking a law: Repeat offenders should face stiff/tough penalties. A penalty is also a type of punishment for breaking an agreement or not following rules: If you pay off the loan early, they’ll charge an extra month’s interest as a prepayment penalty. When a football team gives up 143 yards in penalties, they deserve to lose.
(Definition of penalty from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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