rap on the knuckles


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial.

rap (one) on the knuckles

1. Literally, to smack someone, especially a child, on the knuckles as a punishment for misbehavior. The teacher was fired for rapping students on the knuckles when they spoke out of turn.
2. By extension, to give someone a warning, verbal scolding, or a minor punishment. The public was outraged that the government merely rapped the company on the knuckles for illegally dumping chemicals in the river. The boss rapped my knuckles for coming in late on Friday.
See also: knuckle, on, rap

rap on the knuckles

A quick, minor punishment intended to serve as a warning. The public was outraged that the company only received a rap on the knuckles from the regulatory agency after being caught illegally dumping chemicals in the river.
See also: knuckle, on, rap
References in periodicals archive ?
Last night coach boss Robert Letham said: "I'll be giving this man a rap on the knuckles.
Naomi Campbell gets a rap on the knuckles for assaulting police, whereas I would be facing a spell in prison.
HENRI CAMARA has received a rap on the knuckles from Wigan manager Paul Jewell after going AWOL last weekend.
Commentators described this as a rap on the knuckles for Alfie Kane and senior executives, not that they care much.
This type of driver is not taught safe rules of the road except, perhaps, by a sharp rap on the knuckles in the form of a costly speeding ticket.
RUSSIA'S leaders are split over the UN resolution to take action against Libya - with prime minister Vladimir Putin given a rare rap on the knuckles yesterday.