AskDefine | Define castigate

Dictionary Definition



1 censure severely; "She chastised him for his insensitive remarks" [syn: chastise, objurgate, chasten, correct]
2 inflict severe punishment on

User Contributed Dictionary



Early 17th cent., from etyl la castigatus, past participle of castigo from castus.


  • /ˈkæs.tɪ.geɪt/|/ˈkæs.tə.geɪt/, /"k

Extensive Definition

Castigation (from the Latin castigatio), or chastisement (via the French châtiment), is the infliction of severe (moral or corporal) punishment. One who administers a castigation is a castigator or chastiser.
In earlier times, castigation specifically meant restoring one to a religiously pure state, called chastity. In ancient Rome, it was also a term for the magistrate called a censor (in the original sense, rather than the later politicized evolution), who castigated in the name of the pagan state religion but with the authority of the 'pious' state.
In Christian times, this terminology was adopted but roughly restricted to the physical sphere: chastity became a matter of approved sexual conduct, castigation usually meaning physical punishment, either as a form of penance, as a voluntary pious exercise (see mortification of the flesh) or as educational or other coercion, while the use for other (e.g. verbal) punishments (and criticism etc.) is now often perceived as metaphorical.
Self-castigation is applied by the repentant culprit to himself, for moral and/or religious reasons, notably as penance.

See also

castigate in German: Züchtigung

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

assail, attack, baste, beat, belabor, berate, blister, bring to account, bring to book, call to account, carpet, chasten, chastise, chew out, correct, criticize, deal with, discipline, dress down, drub, excoriate, flay, fustigate, inflict upon, keelhaul, lash, masthead, penalize, pillory, pummel, punish, rail, rate, rebuke, reprimand, roast, scarify, scathe, scorch, scourge, settle with, skin alive, slash, square accounts, take to task, tell off, thrash, tick off, tongue-lash, trounce, upbraid, visit upon, wig
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