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4 definitions found
 for penalty
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Penalty \Pe"nal*ty\, n.; pl. Penalties. [F. p['e]nalit['e].
     See Penal.]
     1. Penal retribution; punishment for crime or offense; the
        suffering in person or property which is annexed by law or
        judicial decision to the commission of a crime, offense,
        or trespass.
        [1913 Webster]
              Death is the penalty imposed.         --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. The suffering, or the sum to be forfeited, to which a
        person subjects himself by covenant or agreement, in case
        of nonfulfillment of stipulations; forfeiture; fine.
        [1913 Webster]
              The penalty and forfeit of my bond.   --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. A handicap. [Sporting Cant]
        [1913 Webster]
     Note: The term penalty is in law mostly applied to a
           pecuniary punishment.
           [1913 Webster]
     Bill of pains and penalties. See under Bill.
     On penalty of, or Under penalty of, on pain of; with
        exposure to the penalty of, in case of transgression.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: the act of punishing [syn: punishment, penalty,
           penalization, penalisation]
      2: a payment required for not fulfilling a contract
      3: the disadvantage or painful consequences of an action or
         condition; "neglected his health and paid the penalty" [ant:
         advantage, reward]
      4: (games) a handicap or disadvantage that is imposed on a
         competitor (or a team) for an infraction of the rules of the

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  98 Moby Thesaurus words for "penalty":
     abatement, acquittal, agio, allowance, amercement, bank discount,
     breakage, burden, burthen, cargo, cash discount, castigation,
     chain discount, charge, charge-off, chastening, chastisement,
     concession, condemnation, condign punishment, correction, cross,
     cumbrance, cut, deadweight, decision, deduction, depreciation,
     deserts, difficulty, disadvantage, disciplinary measures,
     discipline, discount, drawback, embarrassment, encumbrance, ferule,
     fine, forfeit, freight, hamper, handicap, impediment, impedimenta,
     imposition, imprisonment, incarceration, inconvenience, infliction,
     judgment, judicial punishment, kickback, landmark decision, load,
     lumber, mulct, nemesis, onus, pack, pains, pains and punishments,
     pay, payment, penal retribution, penalty clause, penance, penology,
     percentage, premium, price, price reduction, price-cut, punishment,
     punition, rebate, rebatement, reduction, refund, retribution,
     retributive justice, rollback, salvage, scourge, sentence, setoff,
     tare, time discount, trade discount, tret, trouble, underselling,
     verdict, weight, well-deserved punishment, what-for,
     white elephant, write-off

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  PENALTY, contr. A clause in an agreement, by which the obligor agrees to pay 
  a certain sum of money, if he shall fail to fulfill the contract contained 
  in another clause of the same agreement. 
       2. A penal clause in an agreement supposes two obligations, one of 
  which is the primitive or principal; and the other, is, conditional or 
       3. The penal obligation differs from an alternative obligation, for 
  this is but one in its essence; while a penalty always includes two distinct 
  engagements, and, when the first is fulfilled, the second is void. When a 
  breach has taken place, the obligee has his option to require the 
  fulfillment of the first obligation, or' the payment of the penalty, in 
  those cases which cannot be relieved in equity, when the penalty is 
  considered as liquidated damages. Dalloz, Dict. mots Obligation avec clause 
       4. It is difficult, in many cases, to distinguish between a penalty and 
  liquidated damages. In general, the courts have inclined to consider the sum 
  reserved by such agreement to be a penalty, rather than as stipulated 
  damages. (q.v.) 
       5. The sum will be considered as a penalty, and not as liquidated 
  damages, in the following cases: 1. When the parties to the agreement have 
  expressly declared the sum to be a penalty, and no other intent is to be 
  collected from the instrument. 2 Bos. & P. 346; 1 H. Bl. 227; 1 Pick. 45 1; 
  4 Pick. 179; 7 Wheat. 14; 3 John. Cases, 297. 2. When from the form of the 
  instrument, as in the case of a money bond, it is sufficiently clear a 
  penalty was intended. 
       3. When it is doubtful whether the sum was intended as a penalty or 
  not, and a certain damage or debt is made payable on the face of the 
  instrument. 2 B. & P. 350; 3 C. & P. 240. 4. When the agreement was 
  evidently made for the attainment of another object, to which the sum, 
  specified is wholly collateral, 11 Mass. 76; 15 Mass. 488; 1 Bro. C. C. 418, 
  419. 5. When the agreement contains several matters, of different degrees of 
  importance, and yet the sum mentioned is payable for the breach of any, even 
  the least. 6 Bing. 141; 5 Bing. N. C. 390; 7 Scott, 364. 6. When the 
  contract is not under seal, and the damages may be ascertained and 
  estimated; and this though the parties have expressly declared the sum to be 
  as liquidated damages. 2B. & Ald. 704; 6 B. & C. 216; 4 Dall. 150; 5 Cowen, 
  144. See 2 Greenl. Ev. 258. 1 Holt N. P. C. 43 1 Bing. R. 302; S. C. 8 
  Moore, 244; 4 Burr. 2229. 
       6. The penalty remains unaffected, although the condition may have been 
  partially performed; as in a case where the penalty was one thousand 
  dollars, and the condition was to pay an annuity of one hundred dollars, 
  which had been paid for ten years; the penalty was still valid. 5 Verm. 365. 
       7. A distinction seems to be made in courts of equity between penalties 
  and forfeitures. In cases of forfeiture for the breach of any covenant other 
  than a covenant to pay rent, relief will not be granted in equity, unless 
  upon the ground of accident, fraud, mistake, or surprise, when the breach is 
  capable of compensation. Edin. on Inj. 22; 16 Ves. 403; S. C. 18 Ves. 58 3 
  Ves. 692; 4 Bouv. List. n. 3915. 
       8. By penalty is understood, also, the punishment inflicted by law for 
  its violation; the term is mostly applied to a pecuniary punishment. See 6 
  Pet. 404; 10 Wheat. 246; 1 Gall. R. 26; 2 Gall. R. 515; 1 Mason, R. 243; 3 
  John. Cas. 297: R. 451; 15 Mass. 488; 7 John. 72 4 Mass. 433; 8 Mass. 223; 8 
  Com. Dig. 846; 16 Vin. Ab. 301; 1 Vern. 83, n.; 1 Saund. 58, n.; 1 Swans. 
  318; 1 Wash. C. C. R. 1; 2 Wash. C. C. R. 323; Paine, C. C. R. 661; 7 Wheat. 
  13. See, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t. 

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