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

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

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.

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

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 Johnson’s suit also contended that at least one of his supervisors came to work intoxicated, was condescending to Black workers and sometimes berated them. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2023 There, according to multiple players, Gustin berated his team for a poor shooting night, and got inches away from team captain Breaunna Gillen’s face. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 Sep. 2023 The original report accused Fallon of erratic behavior and berating staffers. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 8 Sep. 2023 The Kansas City Star reported that he had been accused of berating a female officer with insulting comments. Jonathan O'Connell, Paul Farhi and Sofia Andrade, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Aug. 2023 There is the 2014 incident about a Boston flight where Heard alleges that Depp drunkenly berated her before kicking her in the back. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 13 Aug. 2023 The Republican clashes in Wisconsin exemplify ongoing discord seen across the country, with elections officials shunned, berated and even driven away by members of their own party over their defense of the integrity of the 2020 election. Megan O’Matz, ProPublica, 7 Aug. 2023 Hip-hop should be a place where Dee Barnes and Drew Dixon do not feel alone when trolls attempt to berate them on the Internet. Taylor Crumpton,, 21 Aug. 2023 The dancer claims she was berated and fired after recording a meeting due to a health condition, per the suit. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'berate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of berate was in 1548


Dictionary Entries Near berate

Cite this Entry

“Berate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


be·​rate bi-ˈrāt How to pronounce berate (audio)
: to scold forcefully

More from Merriam-Webster on berate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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