Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “punitive”

punitive

adjective     /ˈpjuːnətɪv/
used to describe costs that are so high they are difficult to pay , and that are often used to punish someone or limit their activities : The President has threatened to impose punitive import duties on a range of foreign goods .
intended as a punishment : punitive action/measures The company will not take punitive action against the striking workers . The UN has imposed punitive sanctions on the invading country .
punitively /ˈpjuːnətɪvli/ adverb
(Definition of punitive adjective from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of punitive

Definitions of “punitive” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

familiarity

a good knowledge of something, or the fact that you know it so well

Word of the Day

Blog

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