give someone what for

give (one) (the) what for

To punish, rebuke, scold, or berate one thoroughly and intensely. I told her a thousand times not to take the car without asking! Well, I'll give her what for when she gets home. The boss is quick to give you the what for if you make even a minor mistake.
See also: give, what

give someone what for

punish or scold someone severely. British informal
See also: give, someone, what
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