skin someone alive

skin (one) alive

To upbraid, scold, or punish someone severely and with intense anger. My parents will skin us alive if they find out we took the car without telling them. If I find out who messed up the Jefferson account, I'll skin him alive!
See also: alive, skin

skin someone alive

1. If someone is able to skin you alive, they are much stronger or more powerful than you and may harm you. They are fiercely competitive. If they can skin us alive in business, they will. Anyone who reads your finance pages will see that shareholders in some major banks have been skinned alive.
2. If someone threatens to skin you alive, they are threatening to punish you severely. Who let the dog out? You catch that animal, Ernie, or you'll get skinned alive.
See also: alive, skin, someone