tell off


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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 somebody

also tell somebody off
to tell someone that their behavior is not acceptable I was told off by my best friend, and it was a long time before I could forgive her. He's always been obnoxious and it's about time someone told him off.
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