Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “punish”


verb [T]    /ˈpʌn·ɪʃ/
to cause people who have done something wrong or committed a crime to suffer by making them do something they don’t want to do or sending them to prison: She was punished for being late to school. punishable    /ˈpʌn·ɪ·ʃə·bəl/ adjective Swimming in the Potomac is punishable by a fine. punishment    /ˈpʌn·ɪʃ·mənt/ noun [C/U] [C] Serving your community is seen as a punishment these days.
(Definition of punish verb from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of punish

Definitions of “punish” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a document given to students or reporters which contains information about a particular subject

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More