Definition of berate
: to scold or condemn vehemently and at length <being berated by her parents when she came home late>
Examples of berate in a sentence
<there's no need to berate someone for making a mistake during the first day on the job>
Did You Know?
Berate and rate can both mean "to scold angrily or violently." This sense of rate was first recorded in the 14th century, roughly two centuries before the now more familiar (and etymologically unrelated) rate meaning "to estimate the value of." We know that berate was probably formed by combining be and the older rate, but the origins of this particular rate itself are somewhat more obscure. We can trace the word back to the Middle English form raten, but beyond that things get a little murky. It's possible that rate, and by extension berate, derives from the same ancient word that led to the Swedish rata (meaning "to find blame, despise") and earlier the Old Norse hrata ("to fall, stagger"), but this is uncertain.
First Known Use of berate
Synonym Discussion of berate
BERATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of berate for English Language Learners
: to yell at (someone) : to criticize (someone) in a loud and angry way
BERATE Defined for Kids
Definition of berate for Students
: to scold in a loud and angry way
Seen and Heard
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