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

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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

Video of an angry Tom Izzo berating Henry during the first round of the NCAA tournament went viral and caused a bit of a media stir. Greg Levinsky, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball's Aaron Henry preparing for dynamite sophomore season," 10 July 2019 When press secretary Sarah Sanders berated staffers for leaking about it, her remarks were promptly leaked, too. Steve Brusk, CNN, "Kellyanne Conway: White House leakers 'using the media to shiv each other'," 14 May 2018 Trump often has belittled and berated Sessions in an apparent effort to convince the former Alabama senator to resign. Brian Bennett, Time, "Why Tuesday Could Define Trump's Presidency," 10 Apr. 2018 Whether glowering with rage or segueing expertly from berating his staff to giving them a pep talk, Crowe's version of Ailes fills in the blanks of a script that is more detail-heavy than illuminating. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Showtime's 'Loudest Voice' falls short by giving Roger Ailes too much of a bully pulpit," 28 June 2019 Viewers saw him arguing with other teams and berating his girlfriend. Dalton Ross,, "Inside the most radical reality show transformation ever: The redemption of Colin and Christie," 19 June 2019 Trump has often used Twitter to call out or berate companies that clash with his agenda. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Trump urges customers to drop AT&T in move to punish CNN," 3 June 2019 The bailiff made her take the baby out to her husband in the hallway, and the judge allegedly berated the mom and threatened to send her daughter away to Child Protective Services. Julie Mazziotta,, "Here’s Where You Can — and Can’t — Legally Breastfeed in the U.S.," 13 June 2019 The Chancellor and his staff insulted, berated, humiliated, and isolated my clients, among other things. San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD chancellor sued for allegedly discriminating against female executive," 7 June 2019

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

16 Jul 2019

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

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


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

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characterized by aphorism

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