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take a punishing

1. To be thoroughly beaten or thrashed; to suffer rough treatment or abuse. My younger brother was always a shy, skinny kid who often took a punishing from schoolyard bullies. My feet have taken a punishing from hiking in these old sneakers.
2. To be soundly defeated or bested; to lose by a wide margin. Their team's inexperience showed on the pitch today, as they took a punishing from the powerful squad from New Zealand.
3. To suffer severe losses or setbacks. The stock market took a punishing over the weekend after fears of Greece's exit from the Eurozone. My efforts to get my PhD have taken a punishing over the last couple of years, but I'm still determined to see it through.
See also: punish, take

punish someone by something

to discipline someone by doing something. The headmaster punished the children by forcing them to go to bed early. She punished herself by not eating.
See also: by, punish

punish someone for something

to discipline someone for [doing] something. Someone will punish you for what you did. Please don't punish me for doing it. I'm sorry.
See also: punish

punish someone with something

to use something to discipline someone. The captain punished the sailor with the lash. Sally threatened to punish Timmy with a spanking.
See also: punish
References in periodicals archive ?
The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 punishes criminals and spies in an unprecedented manner.
The overthrow of individual responsibility punishes manufacturers for any negative effects involving their products.
Section 1831 punishes the theft, misappropriation, wrongful alteration, and delivery of trade secrets when accused parties intended to, or knew that their misconduct would, benefit a foreign government, instrumentality, or agent.
Section 1832 punishes the theft, misappropriation, wrongful conversion, duplication, alteration, destruction, etc.
Attorneys for a Lancaster neurosurgeon sued by another neurosurgeon for libel and slander are asking for dismissal of the lawsuit on the grounds it punishes the defendant for exercising his right of free speech.
He leads from the front, sets an example, rewards good work and punishes failure.