Definition of admonish in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Warn or reprimand someone firmly.

    ‘she admonished me for appearing at breakfast unshaven’
    ‘“You mustn't say that, Shiona,” Ruth admonished her’
    • ‘Violence is an increasing problem in schools; one victim was headbutted after admonishing a pupil and needed stitches.’
    • ‘When they reached the Squad's room, they all turned to either glare at or admonish Vi.’
    • ‘During the city council's final session, council members criticized the current state of the Bali Hai pier and admonished the bureaucracy for their lack of care for the venue.’
    • ‘He admonished them for stealing and told them it was a great sin to steal apples from his orchard.’
    • ‘Here's a video clip from MoveOn that shows him admonishing some TV show hosts.’
    • ‘The committee's findings - a report admonishing his conduct - nonetheless spared him a lengthy investigation by the ethics panel.’
    • ‘Shortly after this incident,… his accusers noticed that he posted a memo on the law school's Web site admonishing them in what seemed to be an act of spite.’
    • ‘It is important that you don't chastise or admonish yourself for your feelings.’
    • ‘In an editorial statement in ‘Asian Voice’ Mr Patel admonishes Mr Livingstone for ignoring non-English language media in the publishing section.’
    • ‘When Stephen King won the National Book Award he used the opportunity to admonish critics for not reading more John Grisham.’
    • ‘He publicly criticised the Government's non-performance, and admonished the police and the judiciary for their inability to produce significant results in the war on crime and corruption.’
    • ‘When there were no more bottles to be thrown, laughter echoed on West 107th Street, along with the sounds of dog owners admonishing their pets to be quiet and get back to sleep.’
    • ‘CNN recently showed a chaplain admonishing the people assembled before him: Pray not only for yourself, he told them, but for your enemies as well.’
    • ‘Try admonishing a cat and it just purrs, looks cute and goes to sleep, confident in the knowledge that it has won your heart, again.’
    • ‘Now a television pundit, the player was admonished by his team manager, after he had criticised his team-mates.’
    reprimand, rebuke, scold, reprove, upbraid, chastise, chide, censure, castigate, lambaste, berate, reproach, lecture, criticize, take to task, pull up, read the riot act to, give a piece of one's mind to, haul over the coals
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    1. 1.1with object and infinitive Advise or urge (someone) earnestly.
      ‘she admonished him to drink no more than one glass of wine’
      • ‘And Lloyd Best in rebuttal admonished us never to be ‘cautious’ about criticising leadership.’
      • ‘They thrust them on me, admonishing me to be sure to boil them well before eating, as they were rock hard.’
      • ‘That is why the Bible admonishes us in 1 John 2: 15, 17 to love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, if any man loves the world, the love of the father is not in him.’
      • ‘You know, there's so much air time spent in this city on admonishing people to get out of their cars and take transit, cycle or walk.’
      • ‘‘Keep in touch,’ old Mataji admonishes me, at odd hours of the day and night.’
      • ‘In addition, clients are admonished to drink at least two quarts of water each day to help cleanse the body of toxins associated with weight loss and exercise.’
      • ‘He claims to be a compassionate, caring man, often admonishing people to ‘love your neighbor like you would love to be loved yourself.’’
      • ‘Indeed, the Supreme Court has admonished us to leave such matters to Congress.’
      • ‘And those who are admonishing us to harden up, toughen up, I think we need to listen to that.’
      • ‘It stresses throughout the narrow line separating righteousness from self-righteousness, and admonishes believers to be humble in the knowledge that no person nor even any creed can claim to have the full truth.’
      • ‘From government-supported advice guides to the problem pages of women's magazines, our culture persistently admonishes us to leave romance to the novels, and to ‘be realistic’ in our dealings with our chosen life partner.’
      • ‘The girl pushed them away, and Gwen admonished her to eat.’
      • ‘Alan Hansen would recall that, despite having won the European Cup, the taciturn Paisley still admonished his men ‘it's winning the league that's important’.’
      • ‘St. Paul admonishes us: ‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.’’
      • ‘But doctors are admonished to prescribe this pain reliever only with the utmost caution for a patient with limited kidney function.’
      • ‘Citing biblical references, the letter admonishes women to remember that ‘your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you‘.’
      • ‘People walked and chatted with each other while occasionally admonishing their kids to stay close.’
      • ‘Then there's the cut-out-and-keep card for your wallet, admonishing us all to be alert but not alarmed.’
      • ‘Mallman admonishes the musicians: ‘You got to keep going.’’
      • ‘Sports writers have filled countless lines of copy answering questions like these by admonishing the team to work harder.’
      advise, recommend, urge, caution, warn, counsel, exhort, implore, beseech, entreat, encourage, bid, enjoin, adjure, push, pressure
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    2. 1.2archaic Warn (someone) of something to be avoided.
      ‘he admonished the people against the evil of such practices’
      • ‘We are admonished to avoid speaking ill of the dead, so we'll leave Derrida with this wonderful little story by Michael Martone, a leading figure in the Johns Hopkins creative writing program during the 1960s.’
      • ‘Each of the moral rules admonishes us to avoid causing a harm…’


Middle English amonest ‘urge, exhort’, from Old French amonester, based on Latin admonere ‘urge by warning’. Later, the final -t of amonest was taken to indicate the past tense, and the present tense changed on the pattern of verbs such as abolish; the prefix became ad- in the 16th century by association with the Latin form.