Definition of punitive in English:


(also punitory)


  • 1Inflicting or intended as punishment.

    ‘he called for punitive measures against the Eastern bloc’
    • ‘That discipline involves punitive measures, which may be either real or mentally exercised.’
    • ‘It threatened punitive economic and diplomatic measures if Khartoum didn't move quickly.’
    • ‘It is a punitive measure imposed post-facto under anti-terrorism legislation.’
    • ‘The resolution threatened punitive economic and diplomatic measures if Khartoum didn't move quickly.’
    • ‘State law prohibits punitive verdicts from bankrupting companies.’
    • ‘I empathize with their authors, but I also know that punitive measures rarely work.’
    • ‘Traffic rules must be strictly followed and punitive measures taken.’
    • ‘Bear in mind that part of this policy is posited on the idea of it being said, that the detention is not punitive, that it is not designed as a deterrent.’
    • ‘The punitive duty may be adjusted by a final ruling of the U.S. International Trade Commission slated for late July.’
    • ‘You wonder whether the prohibitionists have any rational point at all The reasons behind punitive drug laws fail to stand up to any serious scrutiny.’
    • ‘You'll get hit by punitive redemption fees if you cash in too early, and you'll pass up hefty loyalty and completion bonuses.’
    • ‘The whole affair is a punitive measure which operates most unevenly.’
    • ‘The most effective way to force a reduction of the violence on both sides is to take punitive economic measures.’
    • ‘Similarly punitive measures like charging fines from the public for flouting rules can be introduced.’
    • ‘The cost of scrambling the police helicopter far outweighs any punitive fine imposed on any one of these offenders, were they to have been genuine.’
    • ‘There were no real punitive enforcement measures that could be stuck to in the agreement and Colina and Jimmy knew this.’
    • ‘No one wins in punitive relationships: parents and children alike feel frustrated, angry and unhappy.’
    • ‘The same type of punitive policy exists for those who are married or in a de-facto relationship, or who have a dependent child.’
    • ‘The Supreme Court should investigate the case and take due punitive measure against the trainees in accordance with law.’
    • ‘Removing punitive American policies would rob him of the one thing he needs most - a scapegoat.’
    penal, disciplinary, corrective, correctional, retributive
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    1. 1.1 (of a tax or other charge) extremely high.
      ‘a current punitive interest rate of 31.3 per cent’
      • ‘If the new bill is passed then punitive charges will be made for such applications.’
      • ‘If you go overdrawn without agreement on your bank account you get stung by penalty charges and punitive rates of interest.’
      • ‘These policies are, in effect, a punitive tax on a superior, and badly needed, technology.’
      • ‘Local demand could also suffer unless the government lifts punitive taxes on passenger cars.’
      • ‘Although religious worship as such was not outlawed, punitive taxes were imposed on the churches and many were forced to close.’
      • ‘But if the imposition of a punitive tax serves to reduce demand for starter homes, the strategy may backfire.’
      • ‘Emslie considers it a punitive tax on companies in an increasingly competitive television era.’
      • ‘That's the thing that most put ants on my dink with this whole new wave of essentially punitive taxes, particularly with smokes.’
      • ‘Firstly, there is the punitive tax and fees that any purchase in Belgium imposes on the buyer.’
      • ‘The players were affordable and keen to escape their homeland's more punitive tax rates for higher earnings.’
      • ‘If the money is not paid to the Inland Revenue by the end of the financial year next month, the club could also find itself facing additional punitive charges.’
      • ‘Thousands of Hindu temples and shrines were torn down and a punitive tax on Hindu subjects was re-imposed.’
      • ‘The ensuing national uproar led to punitive taxes on repatriated assets that took the fun out of that maneuver.’
      • ‘Modern smokers are clearly able to ignore punitive taxes and health warnings on packaging.’
      • ‘Rather than urge selective and punitive tax increases, Ms. Devine should be urging no taxes at all.’
      • ‘The civil service post was resigned and the family removed to the Isle of Man to avoid the punitive tax system of the time.’
      • ‘It charged the punitive rate of interest on the arrears as well as the repayments, causing the debt to balloon.’
      • ‘This tax will clobber bright mobile young people, who can easily fly off to find work elsewhere where taxes are less punitive.’
      • ‘From April 2006 any savings above a £1.5m cap at retirement will be hit by a punitive tax charge.’
      • ‘The chances are you would be grateful to any institution that agreed to take your business - even if it charged punitive interest rates.’
      harsh, severe, stiff, austere, cruel, savage, stringent, burdensome, demanding, draconian, drastic, swingeing, crushing, crippling
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Early 17th century: from French punitif, -ive or medieval Latin punitivus, from Latin punit- ‘punished’, from the verb punire (see punish).