to read the riot act

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - read the riot act

"to read the riot act"

to warn or reprimand forcefully or severely


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - read the riot act

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: Are you late again? You are going to be in big trouble. The boss is going to reprimand you and warn you that if you are late again that you will be fired.

Colleague 2: I know. The boss has read me the riot act a couple of times already. It is a wonder I still have my job.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - read the riot act

A couple are talking ...

Wife: I have gone and warned the children to go to sleep a couple of times and I can still hear them giggling and playing.

Husband: Well, they do get very excited and keyed up when there is a sleep-over but, yes, it is after eleven. I will go and read the riot act.

Test Your Understanding  

to read the riot act - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   177   click for frequency by country

to read the riot act - Gerund Form:

Reading the riot act to his fifth grade class, the teacher first castigated them and them warned them of punishment should the bad behavior occur again.

Reading his fifth grader class the riot act, the teacher first castigated them and them warned them of punishment should the bad behavior occur again.

to read the riot act - Examples:

1)  ... a clip around the ear and all need to be sat down and read the riot act " Grow up, do your jobs or get the hell out of here.

2)  The mayor had them arrested and then went to Victory Square and read the Riot Act, calling on the crowd to disperse. 

3)  Staffers have reportedly been read the riot act, "warned not to use the devices."

4)  ... assemble the culprits and their bosses, and read the riot act?

5)  Kasukuwere seething with anger read the riot act threatening the arrest of his seniors in the party as well as threatening the ...

6)  Get them in; read the riot act, slash their budget and change the Chief Executive, he looks bewildered.

7)  ... complaints continued to such an extent that a local councillor was approached to read the riot act to the school. Finally, legal action was threatened against the school.

8)  ... it seemed to all that the porcupine warriors had been read the riot act by their coach after half time but the players showed a lack of interest.

9)  Scheckter was read the riot act and calmed down after that.

10)  I believe club president Orville Powell needs to read the riot act to the players, who are clearly not measuring up to the substantial investment ...

11)  ... when the premier, who has been in power since 2003, read them the riot act. The edict appeared to give some contenders pause.

12)  ... an eye on her wayward soccer star son, was forced to read him the riot act.

13)  We fell out really badly. It's OK now. He read me the riot act and then we went out and had some fun.

14)  ... many men want to have a clear conscience so when you read them the riot act or dump them, they feel guilty which they hate.

15)  ... and unexpectedly one partner took it upon himself to read me the riot act. I sat there and sobbed.

16)  ... Minister of Finance to rein-in his ministers and his departmental heads and read them the riot act.

17)  Ridge barged into Mass's office, read him the riot act and started trashing the office using a samurai sword.

18)  When she starts handling water, we have to read her the riot act to get her out of the bathroom. 

19)  He explained that the teachers had "really read the kids the riot act and issued serious threats of serious punishments if they weren't good."

20)  ... my presence was completely ignored, except for when he read me the riot act about how to behave at a wedding - in public, in front of ...