read someone the riot act
From read the Riot Act. See sense 2.
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- (idiomatic) To scold or berate somebody; to reprimand.
- She really read him the riot act about his smoking habit.
- (Britain, Commonwealth of Nations, archaic, historical) To give a formal warning for a riotous assembly to disperse, usually through reading a section of the Riot Act.
- See also Thesaurus:reprehend
scold or berate