Meaning of “penalize” - Learner’s Dictionary

penalize

verb [ T ] ( also UK -ise) uk us /ˈpiːnəlaɪz/
CAUSE DISADVANTAGE

to cause someone a disadvantage:

The present tax system penalizes poor people.
PUNISH

to punish someone for breaking a law or a rule:

He was penalized early in the game for dangerous play.

(Definition of “penalize” from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)