be·rate | \bi-ˈrāt, 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

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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 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.

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

Members of the community resented press from northern states coming down to cover the issue — especially black journalists, who were relegated to a card table in the courtroom and berated by the local sheriff. Gabby Raymond, Time, "The Justice Department Has Reopened Its Investigation of Emmett Till's Murder. Here Are 5 Things to Know About the Case," 12 July 2018 President Donald Trump has publicly berated members of his staff and cabinet, perhaps setting an example for other bosses to follow, consciously or not. Tom Saler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Saler: Boorish behavior, in the workplace or the White House, comes with a high cost," 22 June 2018 One showed a woman berating the men at the station for not being brave enough to challenge the hikes. Menna Zaki, The Seattle Times, "Egypt officials: 21 arrested over protesting metro fare hike," 12 May 2018 There’s a very petite brown woman in tight blue athleisure berating a man who is pushing a baby in a stroller. Elisa Albert, Longreads, "O, Small-bany!," 7 May 2018 According to several sources, staffers at TCU's rec center, the Rickel, complained to TCU athletic department officials of Busch verbally berating them about practice times at the pool, among other concerns. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "TCU swimming and diving situation was a fiasco from Day 1 | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 7 Apr. 2018 At one point, toward the end of the approximately 24 minute video, the women can be seen berating an unidentified man, who comes out from the mosque, with insults and epithets. Mallory Simon, CNN, "Moms took children to a mosque and live-streamed their hate-filled tirade," 16 Mar. 2018 Among the most potent examples of this was when video leaked of Uber Technologies Inc. founder Travis Kalanick berating a driver for his ride-hailing service. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "The Lesson from Intel: Times Are Changing, Even at the Top," 22 June 2018 This month, a New York attorney was shamed for berating people who were speaking Spanish and calling them undocumented immigrants. Wendy Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, "In racial conflicts, video becomes a megaphone," 28 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of berate

1548, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for berate

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for berate

The first known use of berate was in 1548

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More Definitions for berate



English Language Learners Definition of berate

: to yell at (someone) : to criticize (someone) in a loud and angry way


be·rate | \bi-ˈrāt \
berated; berating

Kids Definition of berate

: to scold in a loud and angry way

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Comments on berate

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not any or not one

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