verb ad·mon·ish \ad-ˈmä-nish\

Definition of admonish

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to indicate duties or obligations tob :  to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner were admonished for being late

  3. 2 :  to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to admonished them to be careful




play \-mənt\ noun

admonish was our Word of the Day on 04/19/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of admonish in a sentence

  1. “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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. They were admonished to take advantage of the opportunity.

  5. my physician is always admonishing me to eat more healthy foods

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of admonish

Middle English admonesten, from Anglo-French amonester, from Vulgar Latin *admonestare, alteration of Latin admonēre to warn, from ad- + monēre to warn — more at mind

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of 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

ADMONISH Defined for English Language Learners


verb ad·mon·ish \ad-ˈmä-nish\

Definition of admonish for English Language Learners

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

  • : to tell or urge (someone) to do something

ADMONISH Defined for Kids


verb ad·mon·ish \ad-ˈmä-nish\

Definition of admonish for Students




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

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

Seen and Heard

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quaintly unconventional or refined

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