ad·​mon·​ish | \ad-ˈmä-nish \
admonished; admonishing; admonishes

Definition of admonish 

transitive verb

1a : to indicate duties or obligations to

b : to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner were admonished for being late

2 : to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to admonished them to be careful … users are admonished to change passwords regularly …— Mark Pothier

3 : to say (something) as advice or a warning The sign admonished, "Watch your step." "Please be silent while I tell my story," LaPautre admonished.— Louise Erdrich

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Other Words from admonish

admonisher noun plural admonishers
admonishment \ -​mənt \ noun plural admonishments

Choose the Right Synonym for admonish

reprove, rebuke, reprimand, admonish, reproach, chide mean to criticize adversely. reprove implies an often kindly intent to correct a fault. gently reproved my table manners rebuke suggests a sharp or stern reproof. the papal letter rebuked dissenting clerics reprimand implies a severe, formal, often public or official rebuke. reprimanded by the ethics committee admonish suggests earnest or friendly warning and counsel. admonished by my parents to control expenses reproach and chide suggest displeasure or disappointment expressed in mild reproof or scolding. reproached him for tardiness chided by their mother for untidiness

When Should You Use admonish?

Admonish was borrowed in the 14th century (via Anglo-French) from Vulgar Latin admonestare, which is itself an alteration of the Latin verb admonēre, meaning "to warn." Admonēre, in turn, was formed by the combination of the prefix ad- and monēre, "to warn." Other descendants of monēre in English include monitor, monitory ("giving a warning"), premonition, and even a now archaic synonym of admonish, monish. Incidentally, admonish has a number of other synonyms as well, including reprove, rebuke, reprimand, reproach, and chide.

Examples of admonish in a Sentence

"You landed in back of him," said Paul, my guide and friend. As he admonished me, the fish turned obligingly, opened its mouth, wide and white, and engulfed my fly. — Peter Kaminsky, New York Times, 17 June 2001 He is sympathetic but never condescending, or patronizing, or moralizing. His purpose is not to admonish or deplore but to understand. — C. Vann Woodward, New York Times Book Review, 5 Feb. 1989 Cops are, from the first day in the academy, admonished that juveniles must not be shot unless in dire emergency … — Joseph Wambaugh, Lines and Shadows, 1984 They were admonished to take advantage of the opportunity. my physician is always admonishing me to eat more healthy foods
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Recent Examples on the Web

Others on the panel weren’t so adamant about admonishing those who’ve been attacked. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Sen. Cory Booker Blames Low Voter Turnout for Republican Victories," 23 Apr. 2018 In August 2017, a French national by the name of Guillaume Rey was fired from his job as a waiter in a Vancouver chain restaurant after admonishing a junior member of the team. Danny Wallace, Time, "A Waiter Was Fired for Bad Manners. But Was He Super Rude or Just French?," 28 Mar. 2018 During the trip, my partner playfully admonished me for exceeding the speed limit. Shelby Grad,, "Essential California: A major blow to public employee unions," 28 June 2018 Fischer has also been admonished for failing to provide a list of leaders who sat on committees organized by the city that determined the indoor track and field stadium in western Louisville and the redeveloping the old Urban Government Center. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Mayor Fischer hiding too much from Louisville voters, Angela Leet says," 21 June 2018 During the exchange, Trump admonished Canada for supposedly burning down the White House in 1814 — an infamous incident carried out by the British in retaliation to the American ransacking of York, now Toronto, the year prior. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump wages war north of the border," 8 June 2018 But one reader admonished the St. Augustine Police Department for posting Methvin's mugshot — which is standard practice and a public record. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "A woman named Crystal Methvin was charged with drug possession. Guess which kind?," 31 May 2018 In a five-page letter sent today to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Portman admonished the Army Corps for refusing to dredge Cleveland Harbor in 2016 due to a lack of funds. James F. Mccarty,, "Portman-led investigation finds Army Corps angled for Lake Erie dumping," 10 May 2018 In 2002, the committee similarly admonished Senator Robert G. Torricelli for actions that closely resembled Mr. Menendez’s: secretly accepting gifts from a wealthy businessman, David Chang, while using his power as a senator to help Mr. Chang. Maggie Astor, New York Times, "Menendez Is ‘Severely Admonished’ by Senate Panel for Accepting Gifts," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'admonish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of admonish

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for admonish

Middle English amonysshen, admonisshen, amonescen, alteration (with assimilation to the verbal suffix -issh, -esce, borrowed from Anglo-French -iss-, going back to the Latin inceptive suffix -ēsc-, -īsc-) of amonesten, borrowed from Anglo-French amonester, going back to Vulgar Latin *admonestāre, probably derivative of *admonestus, past participle of Latin admonēre "to give a reminder to, give advice to, caution" (modeled on comestus, past participle of comedere "to eat up, consume") from ad- ad- + monēre "to bring to the notice of, give warning" — more at mind entry 1

Note: The source of *admonestāre is uncertain. A cross between admonēre and molestāre, "to disturb, annoy, worry," has been hypothesized, though the lack of any Romance progeny for molestus, molestāre, etc., militates against the presence of this verb in proto-Romance.

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Statistics for admonish

Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for admonish

The first known use of admonish was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for admonish



English Language Learners Definition of admonish

: to speak to (someone) in a way that expresses disapproval or criticism

: to tell or urge (someone) to do something


ad·​mon·​ish | \ad-ˈmä-nish \
admonished; admonishing

Kids Definition of admonish

1 : to criticize or warn gently but seriously The principal admonished a student for talking.

2 : to give friendly advice or encouragement I admonished them to keep trying.

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Comments on admonish

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full of whispering sounds

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