to rake someone over the coals

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - rake someone over the coals

"to rake someone over the coals"

to reprimand or criticize someone harshly


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - rake someone over the coals

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: Well, that was a monumental error you made. Are you ready to face the boss?

Colleague 2: Yes. I know she is going to rake me over the coals. I deserve a reprimand for being so careless.

Colleague 1: Good luck.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - rake someone over the coals

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: How did it go last night after you got home? I am really sorry that my car broke down and I didn't get you home on time for curfew.

Friend 2: I got raked over the coals by both my parents. They lectured me about responsibility and trust and who knows what else. I just sort of tuned out after the first ten minutes.

Friend 1: Did you get grounded?

Friend 2: For a week.

Test Your Understanding  

to rake someone over the coals - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   188   click for frequency by country

to rake someone over the coals - Gerund Form:

Raking his subordinate over the coals, the manager lectured the poor fellow on his lack of skill for twenty minutes.

to rake someone over the coals - Examples:

1)  ... can't wait to be called into their boss's office and raked over the coals so they can really get involved in a face to face stink?

2)  Last year he was raked over the coals after commenting on a weblog post by crime writer Tara Moss about women's marginalisation.

3)  Qaddafi's regime arrested two Swiss nationals and raked Switzerland over the coals, extracting an apology and compensation before finally releasing the men nearly two years later.

4)  She is a shameless opportunist and should be raked over the coals for this astounding example of hypocrisy and callousness.

5)  I think I liked being invisible more than being raked over the coals.

6)  ... alarm about regulators not doing their job, Mr. Miller also raked them over the coals for preventing citizens from being involved in environmental protection on their own.

7)  ... fact that women cause 90%+ of the divorces and the men get raked over the coals in the divorce courts.

8)  ... or about being raked over the coals by the in-laws during dinner, ...

9)  Yet I'd get raked over the coals if anyone found out I had a black heritage and did not acknowledge it.

10)  I have been raked over the coals by Roman Catholics, referred to as a heretic and a few worse names.

11)  If he's mistaken about the demographics, let him be duly raked over the coals for crying wolf unnecessarily.

12)  ... it appears to me, they're getting raked over the coals for something they're innocent of, but any attempt to refute the charge at ...

13)  ... anything vaguely conservative that gains traction gets raked over the coals, vilified, and sent down the media coal chute.

14)  Mitt Romney criticized the UK's Olympics and was rightly raked over the coals for it. He hurt our feelings, we recovered.

15)  The media would have raked him over the coals no matter what he said. They tried to portray him as dumb.

16)  If the authorities are going to rake them over the coals, at least let them know what for.

17)  ... to coast to a stop when I realized my mistake. Wont rake over the coals too much as its hardly a disaster.

18)  I'm going to rake you over the coals for your not-so-subtle misogynistic "utterances" one day when I'm feeling up to it.

19)  That they'd rake underlings over the coals for something they feel they're above does go to prove what hypocritical swine they ...

20)  However, if we are going to rake him over the coals for bad writing, it should be for the clumsy writing in season 6.