Thursday, October 16, 2008

Word of the Day

castigate\KASS-tuh-gayt\v. 1: to subject to severe punishment, reproof, or criticism.

Example Sentence: Before sentencing, the judge angrily castigated the two young defendants for their malicious act of vandalism.

Did you know? "Castigate" has a synonym in "chastise" - both verbs mean to punish or to censure someone. Fittingly, both words derive from the same root: the Latin "castigare," formed from the words for "pure" ("castus") and "to drive" ("agere"). ("Castus" also gave us the noun "caste," meaning "social class or rank.") Another verb derived from "castigare" is "chasten," which can also mean "to discipline by punishment" but more commonly means "to subdue or make humble" (as in "chastened by his foolish error"). "Castigate" is the youngest of the three verbs in English, dating from the early 17th century, some three centuries after "chasten" and "chastise."

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