tell off

(redirected from tell them 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 ?
A poll of 2,000, carried out by 4Com, also found that 26 per cent of those quizzed would interrupt someone on the phone to tell them off for doing something "annoying".
They'll also learn that when you tell them off or don't buy them what they want, you're doing it for the right reasons.
"I can tell them off when I want to tell them off, but I like to tell them off in private.
The group of seven youths assaulted the man after he got out of his car to tell them off for throwing the snowball in the town centre in Swindon, Wiltshire.
For the average child, if they are naughty, you tell them off and they stop, on the whole.
'Innocents' pelt you with eggs on Halloween, put fireworks through your letterbox, steal from you and vandalise your car, curse at you when you tell them off, or in some extreme circumstances, kill those who tell them off.
Fed up with British insurance companies discriminating against gay men by raising premiums and issuing lifestyle questionnaires, Chris put evidence together to prove they were discriminating and went to tell them off, face-to-face.
Night after night you hear bang, bang, bang, bang and when you go out to tell them off you get load of abuse.
He was frightened by what happened and later asked me, 'What did those men do to daddy?' I played it down and said I went to tell them off because they had been naughty."
The Moulin Rouge actress, who split with Tom in 2001, said: "They call me Nicole, not mom which I hate and tell them off."
If I go into their apartments to tell them off, I come out as high as a kite - just from breathing in the air because of the amount of drugs they smoke.
He said: "They give them everything they want and don't tell them off."