Definition of castigate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkastəˌɡāt/


[with object] formal
Reprimand (someone) severely: he was castigated for not setting a good example
More example sentences
  • It was for his denial of the doctrine of karma and the efficacy of the religious effort that the Buddha castigated him so severely.
  • The most common response was to castigate the reporter for daring to criticize a sacred cow hereabouts, weblogs.
  • In recent weeks, the Manchester United captain has resembled a walking volcano, castigating his colleagues for their deficiencies as the club finished a troubled campaign trophy-less.
reprimand, rebuke, admonish, chastise, chide, censure, upbraid, reprove, reproach, scold, berate, take to task, lambaste, give someone a piece of one's mind
informal rake/haul over the coals, tell off, give someone an earful, give someone a tongue-lashing, give someone a roasting, rap someone on the knuckles, slap someone's wrist, dress down, bawl out, give someone hell, blow up at, lay into, blast, zing, have a go at, give someone what for, chew out, ream out
rare reprehend



Pronunciation: /ˌkastəˈɡāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • From the small arsenal of instruments of punishment and torture on display, visitors will gain a graphic idea of crime and castigation.
  • You wouldn't believe the castigation I received, especially from members of the board, for even entertaining such an idea.
  • How come society winked indulgently at his ‘excesses’ while reserving stern castigation for the rest?


Pronunciation: /ˈkastəˌɡādər/
Example sentences
  • The Tadcaster castigator concludes: ‘Thankful I am that my generation were able to learn the art of home baking without the need for a kitchen that was filled to the gunwales with culinary gadgets.’
  • His success at this owed a lot to the fact that he was able to play ‘judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one.’
  • Words such as ‘diatribe’ and ‘hypocrisy’ have been hurled at me by my castigator on the Isle of Skye.


Pronunciation: /ˈkastəɡəˌtôrē/
Example sentences
  • The system needs to change, but the castigatory way we deal with mentally ill people who commit crimes seems to be caught in amber.
  • The repetition and hyperbole involved in castigatory preaching approach suggest, paradoxically, its limited effect.
  • Although one could perceive her actions as upright, correct, and admirable, it is obvious to the viewer that she is overly castigatory and despondent.


Early 17th century: from Latin castigare 'reprove', from castus 'pure, chaste'.

  • caste from mid 16th century:

    The general sense in early use was ‘race, breed’. It is from Spanish and Portuguese casta ‘lineage, race, breed’, feminine of casto ‘pure, unmixed’, from Latin castus ‘chaste’, also the source of castigate (early 17th century), and chasten (mid 16th century) ‘make chaste’, and chaste (Middle English) itself. The common current use is to refer to the hereditary classes of Hindu society: Brahman (priest), Kshatriya (warrior), Vaisya (merchant or farmer), and Sudra (labourer).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cas·ti·gate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words