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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
stern warning/rebuke
▪ His actions have earned him stern rebukes from human rights organizations.
▪ Amnesty International rebuked the British government for its treatment of the refugees.
▪ Welfare workers were sternly rebuked by the court for ignoring the woman's plea for help.
▪ When the extent of the pollution became known, the company was publicly rebuked by the Governor.
▪ He rebuked himself for his stupidity.
▪ He rebukes Steve Forbes' brand of supply-side economics.
▪ He had no sooner rebuked the women than La Salle rebuked him.
▪ So when they held dinner-parties Scarlet skimped on the smoked salmon, and Brian rebuked her for her graceless parsimony.
▪ The Soviet media did not openly rebuke Ceausescu for his reception of Carrington.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Rebuke \Re*buke"\ (r[-e]*b[=u]k"), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Rebuked (r[-e]*b[=u]kt"); p. pr. & vb. n. Rebuking.] [OF. rebouquier to dull, blunt, F. reboucher; perhaps fr. pref. re- re- + bouche mouth, OF. also bouque, L. bucca cheek; if so, the original sense was, to stop the mouth of; hence, to stop, obstruct.] To check, silence, or put down, with reproof; to restrain by expression of disapprobation; to reprehend sharply and summarily; to chide; to reprove; to admonish.

The proud he tamed, the penitent he cheered, Nor to rebuke the rich offender feared.

Syn: To reprove; chide; check; chasten; restrain; silence. See Reprove.


Rebuke \Re*buke"\ (r[-e]*b[=u]k"), n.

  1. A direct and pointed reproof; a reprimand; also, chastisement; punishment.

    For thy sake I have suffered rebuke.
    --Jer. xv. 15.

    Why bear you these rebukes and answer not?

  2. Check; rebuff. [Obs.]

    To be without rebuke, to live without giving cause of reproof or censure; to be blameless.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 14c., "to reprimand, reprove; chide, scold," from Anglo-French rebuker "to repel, beat back," Old French rebuchier, from re- "back" (see re-) + buschier "to strike, chop wood," from busche (French bûche) "wood," from Proto-Germanic *busk- (see bush (n.)). Related: Rebuked; rebuking.


early 15c., "a reproof, reprimand," from rebuke (v.).


n. A harsh criticism. vb. To criticise harshly; to reprove.


n. an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to take the rebuke with a smile on his face" [syn: reproof, reproval, reprehension, reprimand]


v. censure severely or angrily; "The mother scolded the child for entering a stranger's car"; "The deputy ragged the Prime Minister"; "The customer dressed down the waiter for bringing cold soup" [syn: call on the carpet, rag, trounce, reproof, lecture, reprimand, jaw, dress down, call down, scold, chide, berate, bawl out, remonstrate, chew out, chew up, have words, lambaste, lambast]


In English law and the canon law of the Church of England, a rebuke is a censure on a member of the clergy. It is the least severe censure available against clergy of the Church of England, less severe than a monition. A rebuke can be given in person by a bishop or by an ecclesiastical court.

In the Church of Scotland a rebuke was necessary for moral offenders to "purge their scandal". This involved standing or sitting before the congregation for up to three Sundays and enduring a rant by the minister. There was sometimes a special repentance stool near the pulpit for this purpose. In a few places the subject was expected to wear sackcloth. From the 1770s private rebukes were increasingly administered by the kirk session, particularly for men from the social elites, while until the 1820s the poor were almost always given a public rebuke.

Usage examples of "rebuke".

Tewdrig was on the point of sending the audacious lad away with a stern rebuke for his affrontery, but I interceded.

Cook may one day bring the Manciple to account, or pay him off, for the rebuke of his drunkenness.

Havel, who was ticklish, jerked his foot, so that the masseuse had to rebuke him.

A similar false note is struck by any speaker or writer who misapprehends his position or forgets his disqualifications, by newspaper writers using language that is seemly only in one who stakes his life on his words, by preachers exceeding the license of fallibility, by moralists condemning frailty, by speculative traders deprecating frank ways of hazard, by Satan rebuking sin.

But in the case of the rest, whose errors, committed wilfully or otherwise, are due to youth or ignorance or misapprehension, we should, I believe, merely rebuke them, or punish them in the mildest possible way.

Fathom presume upon these misconstructions, that she at length divested her tongue of all restraint, and behaved in such a manner, that the young lady, confounded and incensed at her indecency and impudence, rebuked her with great severity, and commanded her to reform her discourse, on pain of being dismissed with disgrace from her service.

The Otter had rebuked Elliania as a daughter of the Blackwater family of the Narwhal Clan.

Swaying his head, like the oriental palm whose shade is a blessing to the perfervid wanderer below, smiling gravely, he was indirectly asking his dignity what he could say to maintain it and deal this mad young woman a bitterly compassionate rebuke.

Toom Drommel gave a rousing speech in the PlasHein, rebuking the Ploughers for persisting in their foolish plan, with all the harm it would do to the workers of Canol Madreth, and rebuking the Castellans for their hesitancy in implementing their plan when his party had agreed to support it.

And yet it is not easy for good men, being men, sternly to rebuke the spirit that seems to be effective in promoting the good cause that they have at heart.

Having thus spoken, Master Prout rose, and deliberately clapping his steeple-crowned hat upon his head, stalked demurely out of the apartment, satisfied that after his rebuke the company would be unable to obtain any more strong potations.

One of these was once sharply rebuked by his broker for his unclerical conduct, and was advised, if he wished to carry on his speculations further, to go into the market himself, as the broker declined to be any longer the representative of a man who was ashamed of his business.

The rebuke died on my lips: why get angry with the poor old aunts of Higgins demanding the destruction of their unconceived and inconceivable babies?

I wish to do this, and yet I do not wish to be understood as rebuking you.

The example of Jenner, who gave his inestimable secret, the result of twenty-two years of experiment and researches, unpurchased, to the public,-- when, as was said in Parliament, he might have made a hundred thousand pounds by it as well as any smaller sum,--should be referred to only to rebuke the selfish venders of secret remedies, among whom his early history obliges us reluctantly to record Samuel Hahnemann.