take to task
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Related to take to task: take exception, On a par, take notice of, pick up the slack, give rise to, getting taken to task
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.
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.
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.
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