Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1600-1700
Language: French
Origin: punitif, from Medieval Latin punitivus, from Latin punire; PUNISH

punitive

adjective
     
pu‧ni‧tive [usually before noun]
1 intended to punish someone
punitive action/measures etc
The agency sent a letter, but took no punitive action.
The jury awarded punitive damages (=money paid to someone who is the victim of a crime).
The government is expected to take punitive steps against offenders.
2

punitive taxes/price increases etc

taxes etc that are so high that it is difficult for people to pay them:
The US could impose punitive tariffs on exports.

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