I read a clause in "The Hindu" which was:

Institute docked for failing to detect cancer

According to Merriam Webster dictionaries, "dock" means - to subject to a deduction as of wages

But, can it be used as a substitute for fine?

  • 4
    Dock usually implies that something is deducted from wages or a payment; it involves money you had coming to you. A fine assumes no such withholding, but expects you will pay the amount in question or face a penalty.
    – Robusto
    Mar 15, 2019 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


In modern British usage, if someone is docked some money, it is deducted from their pay, funding, etc. It is a withholding of money that they would otherwise have been given. A fine is money they are expected to hand over.

It comes from the same sense as "to dock an animal's tail"; it means to cut part of something off, to reduce it in size.

Taken that way, the text you've quoted (which I would guess is a headline) would suggest that an institute lost some of its funding because of the error.

However, it is conceivable that the usage has become less specific in some dialects. In that case, it might mean fine. I'd need to see compelling evidence of that, personally.

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