Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1400-1500
Language: French
Origin: pénal, from Latin poenalis, from poena 'punishment'

penal

adjective
     
Related topics: Jail and punishment
pe‧nal
1 [only before noun]SCJ relating to the legal punishment of criminals, especially in prisons:
the penal system
penal colony/settlement (=a special area of land where prisoners are kept)
2

penal servitude

law when someone is punished by being kept in prison and made to do hard physical work
3 British English very severe:
penal rates of interest

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