riot act

2 ENTRIES FOUND:

riot act

noun

Definition of RIOT ACT

:  a vigorous reprimand or warning —used in the phrase read the riot act

Examples of RIOT ACT

  1. <at a specially called meeting, he read the riot act to his staff for their poor handling of the crisis>

Origin of RIOT ACT

the Riot Act, English law of 1715 providing for the dispersal of riots upon command of legal authority
First Known Use: 1819

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