1 of 2


scolded; scolding; scolds

transitive verb

: to censure usually severely or angrily : rebuke

intransitive verb

: to find fault noisily or angrily
obsolete : to quarrel noisily
scolder noun


2 of 2


: one who scolds habitually or persistently
dated, sometimes offensive : a woman who disturbs the public peace by noisy and quarrelsome or abusive behavior
Choose the Right Synonym for scold

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 scold in a Sentence

Verb “You should never have done that,” she scolded. he scolded the kids for not cleaning up the mess they had made in the kitchen Noun He can be a bit of a scold sometimes.
Recent Examples on the Web
Days before the tragedy, a production manager also scolded Gutierrez-Reed for spending too much time dealing with weapons and not enough on her secondary role as assistant prop master. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 Daniels interjected, scolding Johnson for such posts given his large following. Alex Mann, Baltimore Sun, 13 Feb. 2024 Fricker doesn’t scold people for recreational use of the waters. Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 But others scolded members for sharing the images outside the group and risking the channel being shut down. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 26 Jan. 2024 Anthony Anderson having his mother scold the loquacious? The New York Times, New York Times, 16 Jan. 2024 Over the past two decades, the same generation—millennials, of course—that has been scolded to stop buying coffee is the same one that has faced the Great Recession, a surge in student loan debt, the COVID-19 pandemic, the further degradation of the pension system, and decades-high inflation. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 12 Dec. 2023 The legislators who scolded the nervous speakers then went on with their own, windy soliloquies. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2024 In one survey, researchers found that women of color seeking pregnancy and childbirth care reported higher rates of being shouted at, scolded, threatened, ignored or receiving no response to requests for help. Andrea Tamayo, The Mercury News, 3 Feb. 2024
Don’t be a scold, don’t be a moaner, don’t be a finger-wagging elitist, don’t be an eco-bore, don’t be a mentally ill homeless guy. James Parker, The Atlantic, 5 May 2022 His showdowns with the head of the local diocese, played as a puckish scold by Malcolm McDowell, are some of the best in the film. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 12 Apr. 2022 When Roger Goodell suspended Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for at least one full season for betting on NFL games, the commissioner was very careful with the wording of his official scold. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Mar. 2022 Bozell, who plays a media scold on television, has written a book that despite its subtitle is neither dogmatic nor even thematic. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 6 Jan. 2022 This is tricky to pull off, though, without turning into exactly the kind of scold that sitcoms have been mocking since time immemorial. Jeva Lange, The Week, 11 June 2021 Dude, Daniel is now married to chief scold Amanda LaRusso. Cydney Lee, Vulture, 5 Aug. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scold.' 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 scald, scold, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skāld poet, skald, Icelandic skālda to make scurrilous verse

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of scold was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near scold

Cite this Entry

“Scold.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a person who scolds constantly


2 of 2 verb
: to find fault noisily or angrily
: to criticize severely or angrily

More from Merriam-Webster on scold

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