take to task

idiomatic phrase

: to call (someone) to account for a shortcoming : to criticize or correct (someone) for some fault or failing
The aunt had quarrelled years before with her brother-in-law, after the death of her sister, taking him to task for the manner in which he brought up his three girls.Henry James
… I … gently took him to task for forgetting my instructions …Agatha Christie
… Lawrence Solan … takes to task the Supreme Court of the United States for its incorrect linguistic analysis in three cases …Bethany K. Dumas
… two board members took group administrators to task for causing undue chaos in a public health crisis.P. C. Robinson

Word History

First Known Use

1740, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of take to task was in 1740

Dictionary Entries Near take to task

Cite this Entry

“Take to task.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/take%20to%20task. Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

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