give (one) (the) what for
To punish, rebuke, scold, or berate someone 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.
give someone what for punish or scold someone severely. British informal
give somebody what ˈfor,
ˈgive it to somebody (British English, spoken) punish somebody severely: If you take my car again without asking me, I’ll give you what for. ♢ The manager will really give it to you when he finds out what you’ve done.
give somebody/get what ˈfor (British English, spoken) punish somebody/be punished, usually severely: I’ll give her what for if she does that again. ♢ If you steal any more of my apples, you’ll get what for.