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re·​buke ri-ˈbyük How to pronounce rebuke (audio)
rebuked; rebuking

transitive verb

: to criticize sharply : reprimand
: to serve as a rebuke to
archaic : to turn back or keep down : check
rebuker noun


2 of 2


: an expression of strong disapproval : reprimand
Choose the Right Synonym for rebuke

reprove, rebuke, reprimand, admonish, reproach, chide mean to criticize adversely.

reprove implies an often kindly intent to correct a fault.

gently reproved my table manners

rebuke suggests a sharp or stern reproof.

the papal letter rebuked dissenting clerics

reprimand implies a severe, formal, often public or official rebuke.

reprimanded by the ethics committee

admonish suggests earnest or friendly warning and counsel.

admonished by my parents to control expenses

reproach and chide suggest displeasure or disappointment expressed in mild reproof or scolding.

reproached him for tardiness
chided by their mother for untidiness

Examples of rebuke in a Sentence

Verb the father was forced to rebuke his son for the spendthrift ways he had adopted since arriving at college strongly rebuked the girl for playing with matches Noun delivered a stinging rebuke to the Congress, calling for an end to backstabbing and arguing
Recent Examples on the Web
But the Kremlin has denied any involvement in Navalny’s death, which has drawn global outrage, scrutiny and rebuke from other world leaders suspicious that Navalny was killed for his political opposition. James Farrell, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 But at the time, they were rebuked by former Obama officials who vouched for Jackson as an apolitical operator. Michael Kranish, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 He’s made horror films before, but this one rebukes the hypocrisies of social progressives and the whole damned better-than-thou global elite. Armond White, National Review, 14 Feb. 2024 When a handsome blonde-haired man who resembled her late husband of 23 years started messaging her on Facebook, Likins rebuked him for four months. USA TODAY, 13 Feb. 2024 The idea of building settlements in Gaza has alarmed Israel’s allies, with the United States’ top diplomat rebuking the plans. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, 5 Feb. 2024 Joseph Hinrichs, the chief executive of CSX, specifically visited last spring to communicate his opposition to Brown— only to be rebuked by the bill’s chief sponsor. Tony Romm, Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2024 If nothing else, the movie is a refreshing change of pace from such properties as Orange Is the New Black, where the women rebuke and revile each other — both emotionally and physically — and The Real Housewives of Dallas, in which five women verbally clawed each others’ eyes out all spring. Brett Weiss, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 31 Jan. 2024 Behind the curve and unable to help himself, Trump still revels in rebuking RINOs. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024
On Saturday, an RNC member proposed restricting the party from paying the legal bills of any candidate and requiring the party to stay neutral until a candidate captures enough delegates to be the nominee -- drawing a rebuke from Trump's team. Compiled By Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 25 Feb. 2024 The post drew sharp rebukes and condemnation from leading Democratic figures in Michigan, including Tate, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, and other Democratic lawmakers. Arpan Lobo, Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 His remarks drew rebukes from opposition leader Yair Lapid and minister Benny Gantz and angered some families of hostages. Doha Madani, NBC News, 21 Feb. 2024 The protests have been a rebuke to the country’s military, which conducted a monthslong crackdown on the P.T.I. before the elections to secure a win by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, or P.M.L.N. Zia Ur-Rehman, New York Times, 18 Feb. 2024 Chinese provocations near these islands, including the incursion of fishing boats accompanied by Chinese coast guard vessels into waters claimed by Indonesia, have spurred stern rebukes from Indonesian officials and the dispatch of warships and soldiers to the area. Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Foreign Affairs, 12 Feb. 2024 After finally issuing the recall, Philips struggled to identify and communicate with many affected patients, prompting a rare rebuke from the FDA. Kushal T. Kadakia, STAT, 6 Feb. 2024 When the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, lied in 2013 to the Senate Intelligence Committee in disputing that the NSA was collecting data on millions of Americans, there was no penalty or even official rebuke. Armstrong Williams, Baltimore Sun, 2 Feb. 2024 On Thursday, Orbán, in power since 2010, submitted a proposal for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit pardons for those convicted of crimes against children -- a rebuke of Novák's decision. Justin Spike The Associated Press,, 10 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French rebucher, rebouker to blunt, check, reprimand

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rebuke was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near rebuke

Cite this Entry

“Rebuke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
re·​buke ri-ˈbyük How to pronounce rebuke (audio)
rebuked; rebuking
: to criticize sharply


2 of 2 noun
: an expression of strong disapproval

More from Merriam-Webster on rebuke

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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