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

Yet tons of people called to berate and threaten him, to the point that police were notified. Michael Fitzgerald, WIRED, "The Court Case that Enabled Today's Toxic Internet," 8 July 2018 Stack and his wife, Tonya, were accused last year of berating and mistreating their State Police protective detail and state workers at the LG’s mansion. Thomas Fitzgerald,, "Pa. primary election 2018: Voters guide," 11 May 2018 Security footage supported the child’s account and showed Williams singling him out and verbally berating him, according to an Orange County Sheriff’s Office report. Annie Martin,, "Florida laws don't stop private schools from hiring felons," 21 Apr. 2018 Other academic researchers, meanwhile, had accused Koob of berating them and nixing research projects that were seen as hostile to the industry. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "NIH shuts down controversial $100M drinking study backed by Big Alcohol," 15 June 2018 Many people were quick to call out Atkin for berating GelCream for voicing her opinion. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Jen Atkin Reacts to Blogger Who Posted Negative Review of Kim Kardashian's KKW Body," 11 May 2018 The strangers reportedly stepped in as Christian berated two minority teens. Aimee Green,, "Criminal case dropped against woman who grabbed pro-Trump hat from man's head," 20 Mar. 2018 Trump has berated Amazon and The Post on social media, briefly driving down Amazon’s stock price. Damian Paletta,, "Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms," 18 May 2018 On Friday, protesters marched for hours through downtown, midtown and south Sacramento, at times tying up traffic, berating motorists and damaging a few vehicles. Ryan Sabalow, Jason Jones, Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler And Ed Fletcher, sacbee, "Police work on plan to get fans safely into Thursday's Kings game. Will they show up?," 29 Mar. 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

10 Sep 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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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 amends

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