Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “penalty”

penalty

noun [C]
 
 
/ˈpenəlti/ (plural penalties)
FINANCE, LAW an amount of money that someone is forced to pay for failing to obey a rule, law, etc.: Taxpayers who do not send in their tax return by the deadline will pay a £100 penalty. exit/early-withdrawal/fixed penalty Savers who try to cash in their bonds in the first five years will usually face fixed penalty charges.impose/introduce a penalty Regulators prevented the broadband operator from imposing a penalty on customers defecting to other providers.without penalty Withdrawals can be made without penalty as long as 50 days' notice is given. face/incur a penalty financial/hefty/stiff penalties
LAW a punishment for failing to obey a rule or law: Second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.abolish/oppose/seek the death penalty Several US states have considered bills that would abolish the death penalty.
→ See also surrender penalty
(Definition of penalty from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © 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

debut

the occasion when someone performs or presents something to the public for the first time

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

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