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 The prisoner declined to fight the officer, who proceeded to berate him on the way to the downtown detention center. Brian Chasnoff,, "Arbitrators excuse allegations of racism in police," 19 June 2020 President Trump has repeatedly berated Sessions for his recusal. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Trump and Jeff Sessions trade barbs over Twitter," 23 May 2020 Trump has repeatedly berated individual reporters during the near-daily briefings, including clashes with NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander and PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Gowdy: Trump should let doctors give advice on coronavirus treatment and not 'punch down' at reporters," 26 Apr. 2020 My sister-in-law then berated me about this over the phone. Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy: My in-laws try to poison me every time we meet," 10 Aug. 2019 My sister-in-law then berated me about this over the phone. Ask Amy, al, "Ask Amy: In-laws refuse to acknowledge severity of food allergy, instead serve potentially deadly dishes," 8 Aug. 2019 Newcastle fans have berated the owner on social media for his apparent reluctance to buy new players., "Newcastle Captain Jamaal Lascelles Insists Club Must Keep 'World Class' Rafa Benitez," 12 Jan. 2018 In one striking scene, Eva loses her cool after instructor Juliette Simone (Donna Murphy) endlessly berates her friend Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull) in front of the whole class. Ineye Komonibo,, "Why Zoe Saldana’s Big Center Stage Moment Feels Bittersweet, 20 Years Later," 12 May 2020 The scene where the two of them berate each other on the beach and break apart is a harrowing example of acting and writing at its best. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "Home theater: From ‘Brooklyn’ to ‘Little Women,’ settle in with Saoirse Ronan," 6 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for berate

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The first known use of berate was in 1548

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Last Updated

25 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Berate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for berate


How to pronounce berate (audio)

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

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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