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Inflicting or aiming to inflict punishment; punishing.
pl.n. punitives
Punitive damages.

[Medieval Latin pūnītīvus, from Latin poenīre, pūnīre, to punish; see punish.]

pu′ni·tive·ly adv.
pu′ni·tive·ness n.


(ˈpjuːnɪtɪv) or less commonly


relating to, involving, or with the intention of inflicting punishment: a punitive expedition.
[C17: from Medieval Latin pūnītīvus concerning punishment, from Latin pūnīre to punish]
ˈpunitively adv
ˈpunitiveness n


(ˈpyu nɪ tɪv)

also pu•ni•to•ry

(-ˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i)

serving for, concerned with, or inflicting punishment.
[1615–25; < Medieval Latin pūnītīvus= Latin pūnīt(us) (past participle of pūnīre to punish) + -īvus -ive]
pu′ni•tive•ly, adv.
pu′ni•tive•ness, n.
penal, punitive - Penal means "relating to punishment," while punitive means "serving to punish."
See also related terms for punish.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.punitive - inflicting punishment; "punitive justice"; "punitive damages"
rehabilitative - designed to accomplish rehabilitation; "from a penal to a rehabilitative philosophy"- J.B.Costello; "rehabilitative treatment"


1. retaliatory, in retaliation, vindictive, in reprisal, revengeful, retaliative, punitory punitive measures against foreign companies
2. severe, high, harsh, stiff, drastic, stringent, austere, draconian, prohibitive, burdensome The Green party wants punitive taxes on petrol.


Inflicting or aiming to inflict punishment:


[ˈpjuːnɪtɪv] ADJpunitivo (Jur) [damages] → punitorio


[ˈpjuːnɪtɪv] adj [measure, action, sanctions] → punitif/ive
punitive measures → des mesures punitives
a punitive bombing raid → un bombardement de représailles punitive damagespunitive damages npl (LAW)dommages mpl punitifs, dommages-intérêts mpl punitifs


adjStraf-; sanctionsstrafend; strikevergeltend; (fig) taxation, fines etcextrem (hoch); punitive expeditionStrafexpedition f; punitive measuresStrafmaßnahmen pl; punitive sentenceStrafurteil nt; to take punitive action against somebodyeine Strafaktion gegen jdn führen


[ˈpjuːnɪtɪv] adj (action, measures) → punitivo/a


(ˈpaniʃ) verb
1. to cause to suffer for a crime or fault. He was punished for stealing the money.
2. to give punishment for. The teacher punishes disobedience.
ˈpunishable adjective
(of offences etc) able or likely to be punished by law. Driving without a licence is a punishable offence.
ˈpunishment noun
1. the act of punishing or process of being punished.
2. suffering, or a penalty, imposed for a crime, fault etc. He was sent to prison for two years as (a) punishment.
punitive (ˈpjuːnətiv) adjective
giving punishment.
References in periodicals archive ?
A leading explanation among scholars and activists for increasing punitiveness in the absence of rising crime rates emerged in the theory of the Prison-Industrial Complex [PIC].
Sara Sun Beale, The News Media's Influence on Criminal Justice Policy: How Market-Driven News Promotes Punitiveness, 48 Wm.
It is also likely that unchecked punitiveness in relation to offences where corroborative evidence is difficult to obtain will lead to the adoption of civil law standards of proof but with such cases resulting in criminal law punishments.
But see Carissa Byrne Hessick, Mandatory Minimums and Popular Punitiveness, 2011 Cardozo L.
Racial typification of crime has been found to be a significant predictor of the punitiveness (Chiricos, Welch, & Gertz, 2004; Unnever, Benson, & Cullen, 2011).
The example of how Title IX has been enforced in sports suggests a pointless punitiveness can be expected as women fall short in other fields.
Perhaps some of the impetus for Indian women's radicalism stems from the raw punitiveness with which rape is sometimes deployed -- that is, as a weapon or a way to enforce social control.
Furthermore, with regard to deterrence, another commentator has similarly noted that "there has been no systematic attempt to estimate the deterrent effect of punitiveness other than incarceration length.
The punitiveness of the state was assessed by using the number of executions per the population of the state.
Cross-National Measures of Punitiveness, 33 CRIME & JUST.
Score ranges for each schema domain (and each early maladaptive schema) are: disconnection & rejection, 0-408 (emotional deprivation [0-54]; abandonment [0-102], mistrust/abuse [0-102], social isolation [0-60], and defectiveness [0-90]); impaired autonomy and performance, 0-282 (failure [0-54], dependence [0-90], vulnerability [0-72], and enmeshment [0-66]); other directedness, 0-246(subjugation [0-60], self-sacrifice [0-102], and approval-seeking [0-84]); impaired limits, 0-156 (entitlement [0-66] and insufficient self-control [0-90]); and overvigilence and inhibition, 0-306 (emotional inhibition [0-54], unrelenting standards [0-96], negativity/pessimism [0-66], and punitiveness [0-90]) (Young & Brown 2003; Young et al.
149) Some of the causal factors are environmental or static (and therefore largely uncontrollable), such as the defendant's age, number of prior offenses, and the state's level of punitiveness (measured by the use of the death penalty).