read (one) the riot act

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read (one) the riot act

To scold, reprimand, or reprove one severely for an error or mistake. I was read the riot act by my boss last week for messing up the accounting software. I know Mary messed up, but there was no need to read her the riot act for it.
See also: act, read, riot

read someone the riot act

Fig. to give someone a severe scolding. The manager read me the riot act for coming in late. The teacher read the students the riot act for their failure to do their assignments.
See also: act, read, riot

read the riot act

Warn or reprimand forcefully or severely, as in When he was caught throwing stones at the windows, the principal read him the riot act . This term alludes to an actual British law, the Riot Act of 1714, which required reading a proclamation so as to disperse a crowd; those who did not obey within an hour were guilty of a felony. [First half of 1800s]
See also: act, read, riot

read (someone) the riot act

If someone in authority reads the riot act or reads someone the riot act, they angrily tell someone off for having done something stupid or wrong. I'm glad you read the riot act to Billy. He's still a kid, you know. He still needs to be told what to do. At the weekly cabinet meeting the following day, an enraged Mr Schroder read his ministers the riot act. Note: The Riot Act was a law passed in Britain in 1715. It made it an offence for a group of twelve or more people to refuse to break up and leave if someone in authority read them the relevant section of the Act.
See also: act, read, riot

read the riot act

give someone a strong warning that they must improve their behaviour.
The Riot Act was passed by the British government in 1715 in the wake of the Jacobite rebellion of that year and was designed to prevent civil disorder. The Act made it a felony for a group of twelve or more people to refuse to disperse after being ordered to do so and having being read a certain part of the Act by a person in authority. It was not repealed until 1967 .
See also: act, read, riot

read (somebody) the ˈRiot Act

(British English) tell somebody forcefully and angrily that you will punish them if they do not stop behaving badly; be angry with somebody who has behaved badly: The headmaster came in and read the Riot Act. He said he would keep us in after school if there was one more complaint about us.In 1715 the Riot Act was passed in Parliament. Groups of more than twelve people were not allowed to meet in public. If they did, an official came to read them the Riot Act, which ordered them to stop the meeting.
See also: act, read, riot

read the riot act

To warn or reprimand energetically or forcefully: The teacher read the riot act to the rowdy class.
See also: act, read, riot

read the riot act

Criticize harshly. A 1725 British Act of Parliament provided that a magistrate could tell any gathering of a dozen or more people who were creating a civil disturbance to disperse by reading an official statement to that effect. Failure to heed the warning led to arrest (the law remained in effect until 1973). Used popularly, the phrase became the equivalent of “getting a good chewing out,” even if only one person was “read the riot act.”
See also: act, read, riot
References in periodicals archive ?
GERRARD has to read him the riot act as the penny hasn't dropped.
Garner is said to have "read him the riot act" recently, telling him to get clean for their children.
Arrested after being ID'd at an airport, Burgle sat down with him in a dingy interrogation room to finally read him the riot act - and it was glorious.
His girlfriend reportedly read him the riot act, prompting the tennis champ to nip the rumours in the bud with a follow-up tweet: "3 things..
Noel Dilks, prosecuting, said Oliver's four children "read him the riot act" following the crash.
His dad Prince Charles also read him the riot act about being a good ambassador for the UK on the jaunt.
"When he approached me and asked me to train him I read him the riot act. He responded with a remarkable attitude and discipline toward his training that has led him to the shot at Broner on Saturday and I can only praise him.
Philip is now preparing to read him the riot act when he arrives at the Queen's Norfolk home on Christmas Eve.
"I wouldn't say that we read him the riot act. We just had a discussion that we knew he was capable of pitching better and that we need to see him pitch better," Girardi said.
If he has situational awareness that the correct aircraft is off our wing instead of off the nose, he might suggest "Viper One, confirm the tanker we're looking for is right 3 o'clock, not off the nose." The point is this; he communicates that I am messing up and gets us back on task and does so in a manner that won't cause me to read him the riot act for overstepping his bounds--appropriate for the situation since it is not life threatening.
He attends court with his mother, who has read him the riot act."
The Prince reportedly telephoned him to read him the riot act and hear his explanation of the story.
I hope that Benitez read him the riot act after the match because of the situation he left his team-mates in, and leaves them in for the next few games.
-- When store manager Keith Jacobsen opened a Walgreens outlet here in 2001 a week ahead of schedule he was proud of the fact--until one of his new customers quickly read him the riot act.