read the riot act


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

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 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 It was not repealed until 1967 .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 ?
ALEX McLeish revealed that he hardly had to read the riot act during a pivotal halftime interval at Wigan Athletic.
RUGBY UNION: England captain Martin Corry has read the riot act to his men ahead of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations Championship clash with Ireland and warned: "We cannot even contemplate this going badly.
FULHAM boss Chris Coleman will read the riot act to Louis Sahaover his mutinous remarks towards club chairman MohamedAl Fayed.
Afterwards Reid read the riot act and only Alan Smith was spared the manager's criticism.
DEJECTED Ebbw Vale coach Mike Ruddock admitted he read the riot act to his tackle-shy troops at half-time during their disappointing defeat at Neath.
The North Lodge Park boss read the riot act in midweek after a 4-1 rout by championship rivals Cove Rangers saw his side crash out of the Aberdeenshire Shield in the semi-finals.
David Cameron must read the riot act to Egypt's coup leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, when the red carpet is rolled out in Downing Street for this military strongman.
ALAN PARDEW read the riot act to his players after their 4-0 hammering at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.
New producer Phil Collinson introduced a new "zero-tolerance" regime as he read the riot act last week after a string of incidents.
The 22-year-old insisted however a team meeting with owner Roman Abramovich was not to read the riot act to the players but for the Russian billionaire to show his support.
The manager read the riot act to some of his team in the wake of the Norwich City fiasco.
Fulham boss Chris Coleman is set to read the riot act to Saha after the Frenchman declared he was "disgusted, dejected and downhearted" that the club had rejected an approach from Manchester United.
Bruce had read the riot act to his players after a 4-0 mauling by Blackburn in City's last home game and he was delighted with their response.
The manager read the riot act and he was quite right to do so.
Mr Brown will read the riot act to his MPs at a meeting in the Commons tomorrow.