be·​rate | \ bi-ˈrāt How to pronounce berate (audio) , bē- \
berated; berating; berates

Definition of berate

transitive verb

: to scold or condemn vehemently and at length being berated by her parents when she came home late

Choose the Right Synonym for berate

scold, upbraid, berate, rail, revile, vituperate mean to reproach angrily and abusively. scold implies rebuking in irritation or ill temper justly or unjustly. angrily scolding the children upbraid implies censuring on definite and usually justifiable grounds. upbraided her assistants for poor research berate suggests prolonged and often abusive scolding. berated continually by an overbearing boss rail (at or against) stresses an unrestrained berating. railed loudly at their insolence revile implies a scurrilous, abusive attack prompted by anger or hatred. an alleged killer reviled in the press vituperate suggests a violent reviling. was vituperated for betraying his friends

Berate and Rate

Berate and rate can both mean "to rebuke angrily or violently." This sense of rate was first recorded in the 14th century, centuries before the familiar (and etymologically unrelated) rate meaning "to estimate the value of." We know that berate was probably formed by combining the prefix be- and the older rate, but the origins of this particular rate itself are somewhat more obscure.

Examples of berate in a Sentence

there's no need to berate someone for making a mistake during the first day on the job
Recent Examples on the Web According to Heard, Depp proceeded to slam her against a wall, squeeze her neck, berate her and throw her across the room onto a table. Christi Carrasstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 Ye has also rapped about Kardashian’s new beau, Pete Davidson, and also encouraged fans via his Instagram account to berate the comedian. Anna Chan, Billboard, 4 Mar. 2022 Other prisoners shouted and banged on the bars of their cells, and the prison warden rushed to berate them. Alma Guillermoprieto, The New Yorker, 10 Mar. 2022 Eventually, his guilt drives him to call his father to berate him for forever looming over Jack and Marilyn, keeping them from being close because their relationship was tainted with the memory of Stanley's brutality. Amanda Ostuni,, 26 Jan. 2022 Boyd would stand in the dining room and hear her coach berate her in her mind. T. M. Luhrmann, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Feb. 2022 Irate Francophones, sometimes draped in Quebec flags, who storm in and berate her for not selling books in French. New York Times, 9 Oct. 2021 While Raskin sheepishly attempts to calm the Muldoon clan, Meg continues to berate Harry. Matt Cabral,, 14 Oct. 2021 Unfortunately, a lot of grieving pet owners in the last few years decided to take to social media to berate their veterinarian when things don’t go perfectly. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of berate

1548, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Berate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for berate


be·​rate | \ bi-ˈrāt How to pronounce berate (audio) \
berated; berating

Kids Definition of berate

: to scold in a loud and angry way

More from Merriam-Webster on berate

Nglish: Translation of berate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of berate for Arabic Speakers


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