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

Example Sentences

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
The Paramore singer, 33, paused a show in Toronto on Monday night to playfully scold her audience for arguing during the performance. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2022 Just don’t scold him publicly or use inflammatory language. Anna Pulley, Chicago Tribune, 6 Oct. 2022 That appears to have prompted Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to meet with top U.S. oil executives recently to blame them for critically low inventories of crude, gasoline, and natural gas and to scold them for making profits. Dan Eberhart, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2022 Surrounded by his detail of Alabama state troopers, Alabama coach Nick Saban rushed onto the field to stop To’oTo’o and to scold him. Joseph Goodman |, al, 10 Sep. 2022 Then something unexpected: Vita did not scold me for being away. Paul Theroux, Harper’s Magazine , 17 Aug. 2022 But Miss Manners is afraid that this information does not entitle you to scold your sister. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 30 July 2022 Though Blake sometimes has to scold Emmanuel, the two have a close bond, with TikToks showing the pair hugging and cuddling. Elliot Lewis, NBC News, 19 July 2022 But they are supposed to respect their guests' judgment and not scold them in advance. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 4 July 2022
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 Dude, Daniel is now married to chief scold Amanda LaRusso. Cydney Lee, Vulture, 5 Aug. 2021 Dude, Daniel is now married to chief scold Amanda LaRusso. Cydney Lee, Vulture, 5 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scold.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

scold 1 of 2


: a person who scolds constantly


2 of 2


: to find fault noisily or angrily
: to criticize severely or angrily

More from Merriam-Webster on scold

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.