tell off

(redirected from tell someone off)

tell off

To castigate, rebuke, or reprimand one in a severe or merciless manner. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tell" and "off." It's about time someone told Jim off for his lewd behavior in the office. The waiter told off the rude customer for acting so inappropriately towards her.
See also: off, tell

tell someone off

to scold someone; to attack someone verbally. (This has a sense of finality about it.) I was so mad at Bob that I told him off. By the end of the day, I had told off everyone else, too.
See also: off, tell

tell off

Rebuke severely, reprimand, as in It's time someone told her off about her behavior. There is also a synonymous expression, tell someone where to get off, as in When he called back a third time, I told him where to get off. [Colloquial; early 1900s] Also see get off, def. 7.
See also: off, tell

tell off

v.
To reprimand someone or something; rebuke someone or something: The customer told off the rude clerk. I was so mad at my roommate for forgetting to pay the rent each month that I finally told him off.
See also: off, tell
References in periodicals archive ?
Not once have I heard anyone tell someone off for saying things like that.
Take it from me, it's much more difficult to tell someone off if they are cheerful.
People often ask me what my best put-down of a heckler is, but you can't tell someone off the top of your head because it completely depends on the situation you find yourself in and what they are doing.