read someone the riot act

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From read the Riot Act. See sense 2.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Verb[edit]

read someone the riot act (third-person singular simple present reads someone the riot act, present participle reading someone the riot act, simple past and past participle read someone the riot act)

  1. (idiomatic) To scold or berate somebody; to reprimand.
    She really read him the riot act about his smoking habit.
  2. (Britain, Commonwealth of Nations, archaic, historical) To give a formal warning for a riotous assembly to disperse, usually through reading a section of the Riot Act.

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