tell off


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tell (one) off

To castigate, rebuke, or reprimand someone it a severe or merciless manner. It's about time someone told Jim off for his lewd behavior in the office. The waiter told off the rude customer for acting so inappropriately towards her.
See also: off, tell

tell someone off

to scold someone; to attack someone verbally. (This has a sense of finality about it.) I was so mad at Bob that I told him off. By the end of the day, I had told off everyone else, too.
See also: off, tell

tell off

Rebuke severely, reprimand, as in It's time someone told her off about her behavior. There is also a synonymous expression, tell someone where to get off, as in When he called back a third time, I told him where to get off. [Colloquial; early 1900s] Also see get off, def. 7.
See also: off, tell

tell off

v.
To reprimand someone or something; rebuke someone or something: The customer told off the rude clerk. I was so mad at my roommate for forgetting to pay the rent each month that I finally told him off.
See also: off, tell