1. Punishment imposed on a wrongdoer, usually in the form of imprisonment or fine; especially, a sum of money exacted as punishment or either a wrong to the state or a civil wrong (as distinguished from compensation for the injured party’s loss). * Though usually for crimes, penalties are also sometimes imposed for civil wrongs. 
1. In the broad sense of the term, the consequences visited by law upon the heads of those who violate the law, particularly provisions of the criminal law and police regulations. A punishment for the nonperformance of an act or for the performance of an unlawful act, the character of the imposition not being changed by the manner in which it is inflicted, whether by civil action or criminal prosecution. 36 Am J2d Forf & P § 2.
In a narrower sense, an extraordinary liability to which the law subjects a wrongdoer in favor of the person wronged, such liability not being limited to the damages suffered. 36 Am J2d Forf & P § 2.
A statutory penalty which an individual is allowed to recover against a wrongdoer as a satisfaction for the wrong or injury suffered, without reference to the actual damage sustained. Nordling v Johnston, 205 Or 315, 283 P2d 420, 48 ALR2d 1369.
An agreement to pay a stipulated sum on a breach of contract, irrespective of the damage sustained. A sum inserted in a contract, not as the measure of compensation for a breach, but rather as a punishment for default, or by way of security for actual damages which may be sustained by reason of nonperformance, and involving the idea of punishment. Management, Inc. v Schassberger, 39 Wash 2d 321, 235 P2d 293.
An additional payment for a privilege such as that of payment of principal prior to due date. Anno: 70 ALR2d 1334. 
1. In the broad sense of the term, the consequences imposed by the law upon those who violate the law, particularly the criminal law.
2. A punishment for the nonperformance of an act, or for the performance of an unlawful act, whether by civil action or by criminal prosecution.
See civil penalty; penal action; penal bond; penal statute.
3. Liability to which the law subjects a wrongdoer in favor of the aggrieved party. Such liability may involve a fine or punitive damages.
See civil penalty; penal action; penal statute.
4. An additional payment for a privilege (or EXAMPLE, with respect to a loan, the privilege of paying the principal before the due date).
See prepayment penalty.
5. An additional charge because of a delinquency in making payment. The IRS imposes such a penalty on taxpayers who file late tax returns. Note that a penalty is not interest, and it usually assess ed in addition to interest. 
civil penalty – (17c) A fine assessed for the violation of a statute or regulation <the EPA levied a civil penalty of $10,000 on the manufacturer for exceeding its pollution limits>.
maximum penalty – (1843) The heaviest punishment permitted by law.
statutory penalty – (18c) A penalty imposed for a statutory violation; esp., a penalty imposing automatic liabiiity on a wrongdoer for violation of a statute’s terms without reference to any actual damages suffered.
2. An extra charge against a party who violates a contractual provision.
prepayment penalty – (1948) A charge assessed against a borrower who elects to pay off a loan before it is due.
3. Excessive stipulated damages that a contract purports to impose on a party that breaches. 0 If the damages are excessive enough to be considered a penalty, a court will usu. not enforce that particular provision of the contract. Some contracts specify that a given sum of damages is intended “as liquidated damages and not as a penalty” -but even that language is not foolproof.
4. PENALTY CLAUSE.
penalty clause – (1843) A contractual provision that assesses against a defaulting party an excessive monetary charge unrelated to actual harm. * Penalty clauses are generally unenforceable. — Often shortened to penalty. — aka penal clause. Cf. LIQUIDATED-DAMAGES CLAUSE; LIMITATION-OF-REMEDIES CLAUSE. 
1. An agreement to pay a specified sum in the event of a breach of contract, regardless of the damages actually sustained; i.e., a penalty clause incorporated into a contract not as compensation for a breach, but as punishment for default. 
“A penalty is a sum which a party . . . agrees to pay or forfeit in the event of a breach, but which is fixed, not as a pre-estimate of probable actual damages, but as a punishment, the threat of which is designed to prevent the breach, or as security, where the sum is deposited or the covenant to pay is joined in by one or more sureties, to insure that the person injured shall collect his actual damages. Penalties . . . are not recoverable or retainable as such by the person in whose favor they are framed . . . .” Charles T. McCormick, Handbook on the Law of Damages § 146, at 600 (1935).
“It not infrequently happens that contracts provide for what is to happen in the event of a breach by the parties, or by one of them. Such provisions may be perfectly simple attempts to avoid future disputes, and to quantify the probable amount of any loss. That is unobjectionable. But sometimes clauses of this kind are not designed to quantify the amount of the probable loss, but are designed to terrorize, or frighten, the party into performance. For example, a contract may provide that the promisor is to pay £5 on a certain event, but if he fails to do so, he must then pay £500. Now a clause of that kind is called a penalty clause by lawyers, and for several hundred years it has been the law that such promises cannot be enforced. The standard justification for the law here is that it is unfair and unconscionable to enforce clauses which are designed to act in terrorem.” P.S. Atiyah, Promises, Morals, and Law 57-58 (1981).
penalty adjudged to be paid – A pecuniary penalty, not a penalty by imprisonment. 36 Am J2d Forf & P § 2. See line.
penalty for nonpayment of taxes – A penalty, often in the form of imposition of 1nterest charges, on the amount in which a taxpayer is delinquent in payment. 51 Am J1st Tax § 970. 
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: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949). Edited by William S. Anderson. © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931
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