read (someone) the riot act

Definition of read (someone) the riot act

  1. :  to speak in an angry and critical way to (someone who has done something wrong) :  to tell (someone) that bad behavior will be severely punished if it continues His boss read him the riot act for making careless mistakes.

Word by Word Definitions

  1. :  to receive or take in the sense of (letters, symbols, etc.) especially by sight or touch

    :  to study the movements of with mental formulation of the communication expressed

    :  to utter aloud the printed or written words of

  1. :  instructed by or informed through reading

  1. :  a period of reading

    :  something (such as a book) that is read

    :  the action or an instance of reading

  1. :  some person :  somebody

  1. :  profligate behavior :  debauchery

    :  unrestrained revelry

    :  noise, uproar, or disturbance made by revelers

  1. :  to indulge in revelry or wantonness

    :  to create or engage in a riot

  1. :  the doing of a thing :  deed

    :  something done voluntarily

    :  the process of doing something :  action

  1. :  to take action :  move

    :  to conduct oneself :  behave

    :  to perform on the stage

  1. : active

    : actor

    : actual

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up read (someone) the riot act? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to criticize severely

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