Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “penalty”

penalty

noun [C] uk   /ˈpen.əl.ti/ us    /-t̬i/

penalty noun [C] (PUNISHMENT)

B2 a punishment, or the usual punishment, for doing something that is against a law: The law carries a penalty of up to three years in prison. They asked for the maximum penalty for hoax calls to be increased to one year. The protesters were told to clear the area around the building, on penalty of arrest (= or be arrested) if they did not. B2 a type of punishment, often involving paying money, that is given to you if you break an agreement or do not follow rules: Currently, ticket holders pay a penalty equal to 25 percent of the ticket price when they change their flight plans. There was a penalty clause which said you had to pay half the cost if you cancelled your booking. B2 an advantage given in some sports to a team or player when the opposing team or player breaks a rule: The referee awarded (= gave) a penalty kick. Hysen handled the ball and conceded the penalty that gave Manchester United the lead.

penalty noun [C] (DISADVANTAGE)

a disadvantage brought about as a result of a situation or action: Loss of privacy is one of the penalties of success. She has paid a heavy penalty for speaking the truth.
(Definition of penalty from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of penalty?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Advantage and disadvantage, but you might be interested in these topics from the Chance and possibility topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “penalty” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

from the word go

from the start of something

Word of the Day

Countability – grammar codes

by Dom Glennon​​,
November 26, 2014
Advices and informations Have you ever noticed strange codes in square brackets on entries in Cambridge Dictionaries Online and wondered what they mean? These are grammar codes, giving you a brief summary of how that word behaves grammatically. More information can be obtained by hovering your cursor over the code, and there’s

Read More 

ped-text verb

November 24, 2014
to text someone while walking I’m ped-texting, I’m looking down at my phone, 75 percent of the time.

Read More