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[pen-l-tee] /ˈpɛn l ti/
noun, plural penalties.
a punishment imposed or incurred for a violation of law or rule.
a loss, forfeiture, suffering, or the like, to which one subjects oneself by nonfulfillment of some obligation.
something that is forfeited, as a sum of money.
a disadvantage imposed upon one of the competitors or upon one side for infraction of the rules of a game, sport, etc.
consequence or disadvantage attached to any action, condition, etc.
Origin of penalty
1505-15;Medieval Latin poenālitās. See penal, -ty2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for penalty
  • Since you seem to have switched employers, you can withdraw your money from the original without penalty.
  • The majority of players elected to impose a penalty even when it cost them some of their own money.
  • Following each round, the losers will receive penalty points based on the cards left in their hands.
  • Then, if you need to change flights, you do not incur a penalty.
  • Most trips have steep penalty charges for canceling at the last minute.
  • The penalty is amplified by what brain scientists call switching costs.
  • The same penalty would be handed down in either case.
  • Point the cursor to place the penalty kick, then see if the goalie saves it.
  • Call to request a waiver of the late penalty if you mostly pay on time but accidentally miss a deadline one month.
  • There should be some kind of penalty for winning the bid but failing to make it.
British Dictionary definitions for penalty


noun (pl) -ties
a legal or official punishment, such as a term of imprisonment
some other form of punishment, such as a fine or forfeit for not fulfilling a contract
loss, suffering, or other unfortunate result of one's own action, error, etc
(sport, games) a handicap awarded against a player or team for illegal play, such as a free shot at goal by the opposing team, loss of points, etc
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin poenālitās penalty; see penal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for penalty

mid-15c., from Middle French penalité and directly from Medieval Latin poenalitatem (nominative poenalitas), from Latin poenalis (see penal). The sporting sense is first recorded 1885. Ice hockey penalty box attested by 1931.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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