One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Punish or scold someone severely.
scold, chastise, upbraid, berate, castigate, lambaste, rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reprove, admonish, remonstrate with, lecture, criticize, censureView synonyms
- ‘You'd best be on your best behaviour or the locals will give you what for.’
- ‘Once, the cat got too close and she gave him what for.’
- ‘Uri stepped in (it had been a bad afternoon for the poor guy) and gave him what for as well.’
- ‘In Joe's office Elizabeth was giving him what for.’
- ‘One of this days I am gonna turn around and give you what for.’
- ‘The once quiet little girl who was mercilessly bullied at her last school was giving them what for.’
- ‘Safely out of earshot at the far edge of the crowd, I gave her what for.’
- ‘We gave them what for, and we can resume our action at any time.’
- ‘It's all I can do to keep myself from going over there and giving them what for.’
- ‘I gave him what for and told him he better not miss the funeral!’
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