Synonyms & Antonyms of rebuke

(Entry 1 of 2)

an often public or formal expression of disapproval
  • delivered a stinging rebuke to the Congress, calling for an end to backstabbing and arguing

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Synonyms & Antonyms of rebuke (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to criticize (someone) so as to correct a fault
  • the father was forced to rebuke his son for the spendthrift ways he had adopted since arriving at college

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2 to criticize (someone) severely or angrily especially for personal failings
  • strongly rebuked the girl for playing with matches

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3 to express public or formal disapproval of
  • in a rare move, the state's supreme court rebuked the governor for trying to circumvent one of its recent rulings

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About rebuke

How does the verb rebuke contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of rebuke are admonish, chide, reprimand, reproach, and reprove. While all these words mean "to criticize adversely," rebuke suggests a sharp or stern reproof.

the papal letter rebuked dissenting clerics

When is it sensible to use admonish instead of rebuke?

While in some cases nearly identical to rebuke, admonish suggests earnest or friendly warning and counsel.

admonished by my parents to control expenses

When would reprimand be a good substitute for rebuke?

The words reprimand and rebuke can be used in similar contexts, but reprimand implies a severe, formal, often public or official rebuke.

reprimanded by the ethics committee

How do reproach and chide relate to one another, in the sense of rebuke?

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

reproached him for tardiness

chided by their mother for untidiness

In what contexts can reprove take the place of rebuke?

Although the words reprove and rebuke have much in common, reprove implies an often kindly intent to correct a fault.

gently reproved my table manners

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Time Traveler for rebuke

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Rebuke.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rebuke

Nglish: Translation of rebuke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rebuke for Arabic Speakers


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