penal definition, meaning - what is penal in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “penal”

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penal

adjective uk   us   /ˈpiː.nəl/

penal adjective (PUNISHMENT)

[before noun] of or connected with punishment given by law: Many people believe that execution has no place in the penal system of a civilized society. He had been in and out of penal institutions (= prison) from the age of 16.

penal adjective (CAUSING DISADVANTAGE)

UK having a harmful effect; causing disadvantage: They complained about the penal and counter-productive tax rates. Employees regarded the childcare charges as penal.
(Definition of penal from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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