penalty Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “penalty” in the English Dictionary

"penalty" in British English

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penaltynoun [C]

uk   /ˈpen.əl.ti/  us   /-t̬i/
  • penalty noun [C] (PUNISHMENT)

B2 a ​punishment, or the ​usualpunishment, for doing something that is against a ​law: The ​lawcarries a penalty of up to three ​years in ​prison. They ​asked for the maximum penalty forhoaxcalls to be ​increased to one ​year. The ​protesters were told to ​clear the ​area around the ​building, on penalty ofarrest (= or be ​arrested) if they did not.B2 a ​type of ​punishment, often ​involvingpayingmoney, that is given to you if you ​break an ​agreement or do not ​followrules: Currently, ​ticketholders pay a penalty ​equal to 25 ​percent of the ​ticketprice when they ​changetheirflightplans. There was a penalty clause which said you had to ​payhalf the ​cost if you ​cancelledyourbooking.B2 an ​advantage given in some ​sports to a ​team or ​player when the ​opposingteam or ​playerbreaks a ​rule: The ​referee awarded (= gave) a penalty kick. Hysen ​handled the ​ball and conceded the penalty that gave Manchester United the ​lead.

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

"penalty" in American English

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penaltynoun [C]

 us   /ˈpen·əl·ti/
a ​punishment, esp. the ​usual one, for ​breaking a ​law: Repeat ​offenders should ​facestiff/​tough penalties. A penalty is also a ​type of ​punishment for ​breaking an ​agreement or not ​followingrules: If you ​pay off the ​loan early, they’ll ​charge an ​extra month’s ​interest as a prepayment penalty. When a ​footballteam gives up 143 ​yards in penalties, they ​deserve to ​lose.
(Definition of penalty from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"penalty" in Business English

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penaltynoun [C]

uk   us   /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 ​taxreturn 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 ​broadbandoperator from ​imposing a penalty on ​customersdefecting 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.
(Definition of penalty from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“penalty” in British English

“penalty” in Business English

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