riot(redirected from riots)
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1. To behave or run around in a wild, unruly, out-of-control manner; to be crazy or chaotic. We tried to have some organized games for the kids, but as soon as they all got here they started running amok. The villagers were cleaning up debris for days after the bulls ran amok through the streets.
2. To become bad or go awry; to get out of control; to go haywire. This whole operation has run amok. I don't know how we can be expected to finish under the deadline in these conditions.
3. dated To rush around in a violent, murderous frenzy. This is the phrase's original meaning, taken from Malay. "Amok" also has an older alternative spelling, "amuck." Members of the warrior clan were known to run amok on the battlefield in a bloodthirsty frenzy.
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.
riot of color
Cliché a selection of many bright colors. The landscape was a riot of color each autumn.
run amokand run amuck
to go awry; to go bad; to turn bad; to go into a frenzy. (From a Malay word meaning to run wild in a violent frenzy.) Our plan ran amok. He ran amuck early in the school year and never quite got back on the track.
run riotand run wild
Fig. to get out of control. The dandelions have run riot in our lawn. The children ran wild at the birthday party and had to be taken home.
read somebody the riot actalso read the riot act to somebody
to strongly warn someone to stop behaving badly Alice read Randi the riot act, telling her, â€œIf you don't like it here, you can just go back where you came from.â€ 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)
to act in a wild or dangerous manner There were 50 little kids running amok at the snack bar.
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.
1. if people run riot, they behave in a way that is not controlled, running in all directions or being noisy or violent I dread them coming round because they let their kids run riot.
2. if your imagination runs riot, you have a lot of strange, exciting, or surprising thoughts My imagination was running riot, thinking of all the ways that I could spend the money.See read the riot act
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]
Also, run riot or wild . Behave in a frenzied, out-of-control, or unrestrained manner. For example, I was afraid that if I left the toddler alone she would run amok and have a hard time calming down , or The weeds are running riot in the lawn, or The children were running wild in the playground. Amok comes from a Malay word for "frenzied" and was adopted into English, and at first spelled amuck, in the second half of the 1600s. Run riot dates from the early 1500s and derives from an earlier sense, that is, a hound's following an animal scent. Run wild alludes to an animal reverting to its natural, uncultivated state; its figurative use dates from the late 1700s.
n. someone or something entertaining or funny. Tom was a riot last night.
run amok(ˈrən əˈmək)
in. to go awry. (From a Malay word meaning to run wild in a violent frenzy.) Our plan ran amok.
read the riot act
To warn or reprimand energetically or forcefully: The teacher read the riot act to the rowdy class.
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.”