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

shadow

an area of darkness, caused by light being blocked by something

Word of the Day

Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

by Liz Walter,
October 22, 2014
We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely: He was very pleased. The ship is extremely large. However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic,

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More