Definition of berate
- being berated by her parents when she came home late
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there's no need to berate someone for making a mistake during the first day on the job
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.
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.
bawl out, call down, castigate, chastise, chew out, dress down, flay, hammer, jaw, keelhaul, lambaste (or lambast), lecture, rag, rail (at or against), rant (at), rate, ream (out), rebuke, reprimand, reproach, scold, score, tongue-lash, upbraid;
abuse, assail, attack, bad-mouth, blame, blast, censure, condemn, criticize, crucify, denounce, dis (also diss) [slang], excoriate, fault, harangue, knock, lace (into), lash, pan, reprehend, revile, scourge, slam, vituperate;
lay into, read the riot act (to), take to task;
: to yell at (someone) : to criticize (someone) in a loud and angry way
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subject to rapid or unexpected change
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