1 : to criticize severely : find fault with
2 : to reproach severely : scold vehemently
"A helpful neighbor was able to contact the owner in Dorset and upbraided her for having her house stand empty while a young couple could find no place to live." — Kitty Ferguson, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind, 2012
"There was a steady stream of customers, mostly for takeout, and the experience was marred only by a guy we took to be the proprietor upbraiding one of his employees in front of the customers. Bad form, sir." — Heidi Knapp Rinella, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1 Apr. 2016
Did You Know?
Upbraid, scold, and berate all mean to reproach angrily, but with slight differences in emphasis. Scold usually implies rebuking in irritation or ill temper, either justly or unjustly. Upbraid tends to suggest censuring on definite and usually justifiable grounds, while berate implies scolding that is prolonged and even abusive. If you're looking for a more colorful term for telling someone off, try tongue-lash, bawl out, chew out, or wig—all of which are fairly close synonyms of berate. Among these synonyms, upbraid is the senior member in English, being older than the others by at least 100 years. Upbraid derives via Middle English from the Old English ūpbregdan, believed to be formed from a prefix meaning "up" and the verb bregdan, meaning "to snatch" or "to move suddenly."
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