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

In the wake of a man berating a woman for wearing a Puerto Rican flag T-shirt at a forest preserve, Cook County officials repeatedly have reassured people that the serene expanses of woods are a safe place to go. Gregory Pratt,, "County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt," 13 July 2018 The newspaper reported Tuesday that when Sessions flew to Florida to have dinner with the President at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in March 2017, the President berated him about his decision and asked him to rescind it, a request Sessions declined. Sophie Tatum, CNN, "Giuliani says Trump won't fire Jeff Sessions before Mueller probe ends," 30 May 2018 Surveillance video of the incident posted on YouTube on Wednesday showing the woman verbally berate the employee before squatting on the floor and defecating. Alexia Fernandez,, "Woman Caught on Camera Defecating on Floor of a Tim Hortons and Throwing Feces at an Employee," 17 May 2018 The minute-long footage, which has gone viral, shows the man berating an employee at the eatery and pointing at others around noontime Tuesday. Christopher Brito, CBS News, ""It's America": Video of man's racist tirade at NYC restaurant goes viral," 17 May 2018 But sources say that Gallagher had often berated Socolovsky, and that grievances either went unanswered or were met with what appeared to be reprisals. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Inside the Spectacular Implosion of Religion News Service," 27 Apr. 2018 But Republicans eager to undermine Mueller's investigation berated Strzok, citing the texts as evidence of partisan bias within a law enforcement agency supposed to steer clear of politics. Author: Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, "FBI agent clashes with GOP at hearing on Russia probe," 13 July 2018 Green, who is two technical fouls away from a suspension, berated officials on multiple occasions during the game. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "The NBA Referees finally explained why Draymond Green didn't get a 2nd technical," 7 June 2018 The stress drove Musk to berate analysts on an earnings call earlier this month, costing the company billions (its stock dropped as much as 5 percent in after-hours trading that day). Maya Kosoff, The Hive, "Elon Musk Melts Down, Blames Scumbag Tesla Critics for Electing Trump," 23 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

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on berate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with berate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for berate

Spanish Central: Translation of berate

Nglish: Translation of berate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of berate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on berate

What made you want to look up berate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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