Definition of talking-to in English:



  • A sharp reprimand in which someone is told that they have done wrong.

    ‘they gave Peter a talking-to about solving problems with words, not fists’
    • ‘But I've also had talking-to's from friends who tell me that A ‘needs’ to go into childcare, that I'm holding her back socially by keeping her at home with me.’
    • ‘He gave her a talking-to after dinner, instructing her that words like ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ were only to be used in instances of extreme provocation and that was that.’
    • ‘I received a serious talking-to on Friday from a colleague of mine known as Sweet Roslyn - her parents clearly having been enamoured, when she was born, of some of Shakespeare's lighter works.’
    • ‘I didn't know what he was offering to do, but I knew it didn't involve giving Jason a stern talking-to.’
    • ‘Furthermore, I saw from the first month that she generally gave delinquents no more than a stern talking-to, followed by a pat on the back, rather than suspensions, detentions, or any other meaningful punishment.’
    • ‘However, the kids were not up for a talking-to, because the more she yelled, the less they listened.’
    • ‘But the city's 1000-plus property developers have come in for more than just a talking-to.’
    • ‘I was not above taking Gerald aside and giving him a good talking-to when the occasion called for it - and, under extreme circumstances, I was not averse to doing so in public.’
    • ‘The new ‘headmaster’ of the Church of England gave his ‘squabbling pupils’ a stern talking-to yesterday, calling for unity - and won plaudits for his troubles.’
    • ‘I finished my affair because my sister gave me a serious talking-to and made me see what I was doing.’
    • ‘The bully we mentioned in number 2, who has grown up a lot and become mates with my brother, notices this, and gives the lad a talking-to, and let's be honest, a thump.’
    • ‘In one episode, normally sweet-natured Aunt Bee (the wonderful Frances Bavier, who won an Emmy for the role) has to give him a stern talking-to for being hypocritical and caught up in appearances.’
    • ‘I remember my science teacher giving me a talking-to after I had received a paper that she had just finished grading.’
    • ‘The look she gave Champignon promised quite a talking-to.’
    • ‘Personally, I would probably have given him a yellow and a bit of a talking-to, on the grounds that it was the first time in the match that Pritchard had hacked down a streaker.’
    • ‘She embarrassed Walter and Calpurnia called her into the kitchen and gave her a stern talking-to.’
    • ‘The adults are only too happy to drop everything they're doing to either help the kids or give them a long, long talking-to when they do something wrong.’
    • ‘Dad was a little less pleased; hey, he's not exactly my biggest fan, so when I trash the van I can expect a little talking-to.’
    • ‘Kelly changed the nature of his troublemaking - or at least started thinking about changing it - after a stern talking-to from a Gonzaga priest.’
    • ‘But you threaten them, and you'd be surprised, sometimes all a guy needs is a good talking-to.’
    reprimand, lecture, rebuke, scolding, reproof, reproach, rap on the knuckles, slap on the wrists, chiding, remonstration, upbraiding, berating, castigation, tirade, diatribe, admonition, admonishment, lambasting, censure, criticism, obloquy
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