rap over the knuckles


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Related to rap over the knuckles: bum rap, taking the rap

rap (one) over 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 over 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 over the knuckles for illegally dumping chemicals in the river. The boss rapped my knuckles for coming in late on Friday.
See also: knuckle, over, rap

rap over the knuckles

A quick, minor punishment intended to serve as a warning. The public was outraged that the company only received a rap over the knuckles from the regulatory agency after being caught illegally dumping chemicals in the river.
See also: knuckle, over, rap
References in periodicals archive ?
MPs got a collective rap over the knuckles from Commons Speaker Miss Betty Boothroyd yesterday for asking Ministers long and rambling questions in the Commons.
Judge Frank O'Donnell said there was little point in giving Coffey a "rap over the knuckles" as he had been drinking four full-size bottles of vodka a day at the time.
However, the punishment is little more than a rap over the knuckles for the Trotters' manager.
Instead, recently, he has given a rap over the knuckles.
WAYNE ROONEY is set to get another rap over the knuckles after his latest four-letter outburst seen by millions on television.
'Instead, they have given me a rap over the knuckles for speaking to the Record.