Chew someone out

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Chew someone out is an idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common saying chew someone out, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

To chew someone out means to scold him severely, to reprimand him, to angrily berate him. The expression to chew someone out seems to have originated in the military during World War II; the image is of someone reprimanding his subordinate in a manner that is so thorough, it feels as though that subordinate is being physically chewed on. An alternative form of this idiom involves specifying a particular body part upon which the scolder is chewing, but this term is not used in polite company. Related phrases are chews someone out, chewed someone out, chewing someone out.


His manner was that of one whose boss had chewed him out and he was on his way home to kick the dog and abuse his wife and children. (Houma Today)

“I caught Casey in the hallway after that game, and I sort of chewed him out,” Fruechte said. (Post Bulletin)

Every time I saw him, even as an adult, he would point to the ground as if I was in trouble and say get over here and then pretend to chew me out like I was still playing for him, and then smile and give me a kiss on the cheek. (Seaside Signal)

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