throw the book at, to

throw the book at someone

Fig. to charge or convict someone with as many crimes as is possible. I made the police officer angry, so he took me to the station and threw the book at me. The judge threatened to throw the book at me if I didn't stop insulting the police officer.
See also: book, throw

throw the book at

Punish or reprimand severely, as in I just knew the professor would throw the book at me for being late with my paper. This expression originally meant "sentence a convicted person to the maximum penalties allowed," the book being the roster of applicable laws. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.
See also: book, throw

throw the book at

charge or punish someone as severely as possible or permitted. informal
See also: book, throw

throw the book at

1. To make all possible charges against (a lawbreaker, for example).
2. To reprimand or punish severely.
See also: book, throw

throw the book at, to

To scold or punish severely. The term comes from a legal one meaning to sentence an offender to the maximum penalties allowed, the book meaning the entire roster of laws and penalties applicable to the particular crime. The legal metaphor was in use in the early twentieth century, and by the middle of the century it was broadened to include reproaches and nonlegal remedies. Joseph Heller’s wonderful satire on military mores, Catch- 22 (1961), stated, “He was formally charged with breaking ranks while in formation, felonious assault, indiscriminate behavior, mopery, high treason, provoking . . . In short, they threw the book at him.”
See also: book, throw
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