- DEFINITION verb 1: to correct by punishment or suffering : discipline; also : purify
2 a : to prune (as a work or style of art) of excess, pretense, or falsity : refine b : to cause to be more humble or restrained : subdue
- DID YOU KNOW? If
you say you would "castigate" or "chastise" someone in order to
"chasten" them, you demonstrate a good knowledge of the origin of
"chasten" -- all three verbs derive from the Latin verb "castigare,"
meaning "to punish." The trio shares an initial sense of "to subject to
severe and often physical punishment," but all three verbs are now as
likely to refer to a verbal dressing-down as a physical lesson.
"Chasten" (which arrived in English via Anglo-French "chastier") can
also be used to mean "to prune of excess, pretense, or falsity." This
led to the more general sense of "to make more subdued," although the
humility can be imposed by a humiliating situation as easily as by a
on Jul. 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM