rake (one) over the coals

rake (one) over the coals

To scold, reprimand, or reprove one severely for an error or mistake. I was raked over the coals by my boss last week for messing up the accounting software. I know Mary messed up, but don't rake her over the coals too hard for it.
See also: coal, over, rake
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

rake someone over the coals

 and haul someone over the coals
Fig. to give someone a severe scolding. My mother hauled me over the coals for coming in late last night. The manager raked me over the coals for being late again.
See also: coal, over, rake
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

rake over the coals

Also, haul over the coals. Reprimand severely, as in When Dad finds out about the damage to the car, he's sure to rake Peter over the coals, or The coach hauled him over the coals for missing practice. These terms allude to the medieval torture of pulling a heretic over red-hot coals. [Early 1800s]
See also: coal, over, rake
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rake over (old) coals (or rake over the ashes)

revive the memory of a past event which is best forgotten. chiefly British
See also: coal, over, rake
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rake over the coals

To reprimand severely.
See also: coal, over, rake
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

haul/rake over the coals, to

To administer a severe reprimand. The term alludes to the medieval practice of pulling an alleged heretic over the coals of a slow fire, which is described in numerous sixteenth-century church chronicles. By the early nineteenth century the term had been transferred to more benign kinds of punishment, often signifying only a severe scolding, as in Byron’s poem “Beppo” (1818): “They’d haul o’er the coals.”
See also: haul, over, rake, to

rake over the coals

See haul over the coals.
See also: coal, over, rake
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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