read the riot act


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read someone the riot act

Fig. to give someone a severe scolding. The manager read me the riot act for coming in late. The teacher read the students the riot act for their failure to do their assignments.
See also: act, read, riot

read somebody the riot act

also read the riot act to somebody
to strongly warn someone to stop behaving badly Alice read Randi the riot act, telling her, “If you don't like it here, you can just go back where you came from.” The secretary of state said she plans to read the riot act to the country's leaders during meetings next week.
Related vocabulary: lay down the law
Etymology: based on the Riot Act (an English law of 1715 that provided a way to deal with a crowd of people who were causing trouble)
See also: act, read, riot

read (somebody) the riot act

to speak angrily to someone about something they have done and warn them that they will be punished if they do it again
Usage notes: The riot act was a law made in 1715 which said how to deal with groups of twelve or more people who were causing trouble.
He'd put up with a lot of bad behaviour from his son and thought it was time to read him the riot act.
See also: act, read, riot

read the riot act

Warn or reprimand forcefully or severely, as in When he was caught throwing stones at the windows, the principal read him the riot act . This term alludes to an actual British law, the Riot Act of 1714, which required reading a proclamation so as to disperse a crowd; those who did not obey within an hour were guilty of a felony. [First half of 1800s]
See also: act, read, riot

read the riot act

To warn or reprimand energetically or forcefully: The teacher read the riot act to the rowdy class.
See also: act, read, riot

read the riot act

Criticize harshly. A 1725 British Act of Parliament provided that a magistrate could tell any gathering of a dozen or more people who were creating a civil disturbance to disperse by reading an official statement to that effect. Failure to heed the warning led to arrest (the law remained in effect until 1973). Used popularly, the phrase became the equivalent of “getting a good chewing out,” even if only one person was “read the riot act.”
See also: act, read, riot
References in periodicals archive ?
Afterwards Reid read the riot act and only Alan Smith was spared the manager's criticism.
DEJECTED Ebbw Vale coach Mike Ruddock admitted he read the riot act to his tackle-shy troops at half-time during their disappointing defeat at Neath.
MICHAEL CHEIKA (above) read the riot act after his first defeat as Australia boss.
ALAN PARDEW read the riot act to his players after their 4-0 hammering at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.
By STEVE STAMMERS ARSENE Wenger has read the riot act to Jack Wilshere.
New producer Phil Collinson introduced a new "zero-tolerance" regime as he read the riot act last week after a string of incidents.
The Highlanders were behind to Marc McCusker's early strike and outplayed before Jack read the riot act.
The 22-year-old insisted however a team meeting with owner Roman Abramovich was not to read the riot act to the players but for the Russian billionaire to show his support.
ALEX McLeish revealed that he hardly had to read the riot act during a pivotal halftime interval at Wigan Athletic.
Fulham boss Chris Coleman is set to read the riot act to Saha after the Frenchman declared he was "disgusted, dejected and downhearted" that the club had rejected an approach from Manchester United.
Bruce had read the riot act to his players after a 4-0 mauling by Blackburn in City's last home game and he was delighted with their response.
Leinster SHC semi-final replay Kilkenny v Galway, 7pm NICKY BRENNAN says Kilkenny manager Brian Cody will have read the riot act after last week's collapse against Galway.
Calderwood read the riot act at the interval and again at full-time as he felt his players failed to reach the high standards set since he took charge last month.
Mr Brown will read the riot act to his MPs at a meeting in the Commons tomorrow.
Learn about how "the bizzies" read the riot act five times in an afternoon, and why Joseph Williamson dug all those tunnels.