take to task


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take (one) to task

To scold, reprimand, lecture, or hold one accountable for some wrong or error they committed. Mom took me to task over my terrible report card. You don't have to take everyone to task who misuses the word "literally," you know.
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

take someone to task

to scold or reprimand someone. The teacher took John to task for his bad behavior. I lost a big contract, and the boss took me to task in front of everyone.
See also: take, task
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

take to task

Upbraid, scold; blame or censure. For example, The teacher took Doris to task for turning in such a sloppy report. This term, dating from the mid-1700s, at first meant either assigning or challenging someone to a task. Its current sense dates from the late 1800s.
See also: take, task
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

take to task, to

To reprimand; to blame or censure. This term was used from the mid-eighteenth century to mean either assigning or challenging someone to a task. In its present meaning it has been current only since the late nineteenth century. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used it in Captain Polestar (1890): “My employer took me severely to task.” It sounds a bit stilted now and may be dying out.
See also: take
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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