Meaning of “penalty” in the English Dictionary

"penalty" in English

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penaltynoun [ C ]

uk /ˈpen.əl.ti/ us /ˈpen.əl.ti/

penalty noun [ C ] (PUNISHMENT)

B2 a punishment, or the usual punishment, for doing something that is against a law:

The law carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.
They asked for the maximum penalty for hoax calls to be increased to one year.
The protesters were told to clear the area around the building, on penalty of arrest (= or be arrested) if they did not.

B2 a type of punishment, often involving paying money, that is given to you if you break an agreement or do not follow rules:

Currently, ticket holders pay a penalty equal to 25 percent of the ticket price when they change their flight plans.
There was a penalty clause which said you had to pay half the cost if you cancelled your booking.

B2 an advantage given in some sports to a team or player when the opposing team or player breaks 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 face stiff/tough penalties.

A penalty is also a type of punishment for breaking an agreement or not following rules:

If you pay off the loan early, they’ll charge an extra month’s interest as a prepayment penalty.
When a football team 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 /ˈpenəlti/ us 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.

(Definition of “penalty” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)