haul somebody over the coals
haul (someone) over the coals
To scold, reprimand, or reprove someone severely for an error or mistake. I was hauled over the coals by my boss last week for messing up the accounting software. I know Mary messed up, but don't haul her over the coals too hard for it.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
haul somebody over the ˈcoals(British English) (American English rake somebody over the ˈcoals) (informal) criticize somebody very strongly for something they have done: I was hauled over the coals for being late.This was once a form of torture (= an act of causing somebody severe pain as a punishment or to make them say something) in which a person was pulled over hot or burning pieces of coal.
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