Definition of telling-off in English:



  • A reprimand.

    ‘your dad gave me such a telling-off’
    • ‘The building porter saw what was going on outside from his vantage point in the lobby, saw my little hand at the open fourth floor window, chased up the stairs and gave me huge telling-off.’
    • ‘Sure enough, there he was, and he was already in full complaint mode as the key went in the lock, giving us a sound telling-off for being absent for so long.’
    • ‘I suspect that the teacher saw a situation getting out of hand, defused it skilfully, gave me a firm but slightly more sympathetic telling-off and that was the end of it.’
    • ‘I'm sure mom's telling-off will be enough punishment for you.’
    • ‘These may not seem like important statements to you - in truth, they are ideas that are probably best answered with a quick slap round the head, a hefty dose of realism and a sound telling-off for getting too deeply immersed in my own self.’
    • ‘Like a child fearing a telling-off, I knew I had to placate this man or he was going to upset me and I wasn't going to enjoy the game.’
    • ‘One man gave me a most ferocious telling-off about the clutter in the cupboard under the sink.’
    • ‘Distraction works better than shouting, telling-off or smacking.’
    • ‘One could easily picture her sympathetically tending grazed knees in the playground, while, the next minute, dishing out stern tellings-off in her office.’
    • ‘All you would get, apparently, would be a slap on the wrist, a telling-off but also praise for work well done.’
    • ‘My friends have often called on me when there was someone that needed a telling-off and they couldn't bring themselves to do it.’
    • ‘Then, this evening, came the telephone call and Graham received a telling-off from his mother for forgetting that today was his father's birthday.’
    • ‘If you cry and wet yourself, you don't get a cuddle from the headmistress and a new uniform from lost property, you get a stern telling-off from the director and everyone else calls you ‘nurse wee-pants’ for the rest of the run.’
    • ‘Kate saw her cousin Dianna smile at this much needed telling-off of their mutually detested relation.’
    • ‘The twins glanced at each other, wondering if they had managed to escape a telling-off from Mum.’
    reprimand, rebuke, reproof, admonishment, admonition, reproach, reproval, scolding, remonstration, upbraiding, castigation, lambasting, lecture, criticism, censure
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