Meaning of “penal” in the English Dictionary

"penal" in British English

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penaladjective

uk /ˈpiː.nəl/ us /ˈpiː.nəl/

penal adjective (PUNISHMENT)

[ before noun ] of or relating to 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.

(Definition of “penal” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"penal" in American English

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penaladjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈpi·nəl/

of or connected with punishment given by law:

the penal system

(Definition of “penal” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)