Definition of “punish” - English Dictionary

“punish” in British English

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punishverb [ T ]

uk /ˈpʌn.ɪʃ/ us /ˈpʌn.ɪʃ/

punish verb [ T ] (CRIME)

B1 to cause someone who has done something wrong or committed a crime to suffer, by hurting them, forcing them to pay money, sending them to prison, etc.:

Those responsible for these crimes must be brought to court and punished.
He punished the class by giving them extra work.
The oil company was found guilty on ten counts of pollution, and was punished with a $250 million fine.
See also

to punish anyone who commits a particular crime:

Drunken driving can be punished with a prison sentence.

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

“punish” in American English

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punishverb [ T ]

us /ˈpʌn·ɪʃ/

to cause people who have done something wrong or committed a crime to suffer by making them do something they don’t want to do or sending them to prison:

She was punished for being late to school.
punishable
adjective us /ˈpʌn·ɪ·ʃə·bəl/

Swimming in the Potomac is punishable by a fine.
punishment
noun [ C/U ] us /ˈpʌn·ɪʃ·mənt/

[ C ] Serving your community is seen as a punishment these days.

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