Definition of reproach in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Address (someone) in such a way as to express disapproval or disappointment.

    with direct speech ‘“You know that isn't true,” he reproached her’
    ‘critics of the administration reproached the president for his failure to tackle the deficiency’
    • ‘If you ignore one of the small safety details when riding these machines, you could end up reproaching yourself why did not you do it.’
    • ‘He began to rage at colonel MacChesnay, who had led the charge, reproaching him for making a mess of things by stopping one hundred feet short of success.’
    • ‘Silently reproaching herself, Jessica edged closer towards the girl and softly stroked her hair, hoping the gesture would calm the other girl and not upset her more.’
    • ‘Idomeneus turns his sword against himself, without heeding the advice of a priest who reproaches him for his cruelty and invites him to make a substitute sacrifice of ‘a hundred bulls whiter than snow.’’
    • ‘But Nanny will never tell you this and will go on reproaching you for your naughty habit of smoking in corners, even if it is the only way, with such a demanding life-style, to obtain a moment's quiet relief.’
    • ‘Charges of brutality, of savagery, have been laid at Simon's door, but perhaps this is the first time posterity has reproached him for ordinary honesty.’
    • ‘Picasso's critics reproached him for an inability‘to forge a personal style’.’
    • ‘He eyed Mr. Jacks with disgust, like a mother reproaching her child for muddying the kitchen floor.’
    • ‘He reproaches the narrator, Miles Coverdale, for grumbling about the weather.’
    • ‘She is summoned by her father, who reproaches her and tells her that Roland will die and she will lose her throne and her magic unless she renounces him.’
    • ‘There are other accounts by Welsh evangelists reproaching Irish passengers for dancing too vigorously.’
    • ‘‘I could kick myself for involving you in this mess,’ he said, reproaching himself.’
    • ‘He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children.’
    • ‘He is imprisoned for a year for having acted as Castlewood's second in the duel, for which Lady Castlewood bitterly reproaches him, and on his release joins the army and fights in the war of the Spanish Succession.’
    • ‘He tells him that he is not there to reproach him, and John denies having done anything wrong.’
    • ‘In the background Kristin also heard a male voice reproaching the child for answering the phone.’
    • ‘Dolly reproaches him gently when an embarrassed Silas has to ask her what that means.’
    • ‘Your comments bring to mind John Milton's words: ‘They who have put out the people's eyes, reproach them of their blindness.’’
    • ‘I could scarcely reproach you for having undergone it without success, for those who emerge from it triumphant are very few.’
    • ‘She agrees, goes to his home, and realizes that he will not question or reproach her.’
    express a poor opinion of, have a poor opinion of, dislike, be against, object to, find unacceptable, think wrong, take exception to, not believe in, not support, frown on, take a dim view of, look askance at
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    1. 1.1reproach someone with Accuse someone of.
      ‘his wife reproached him with cowardice’
      • ‘Why are you reproaching me with this all the time?’
      • ‘I therefore shall not follow the example of LeGallois, in trying to justify physiologists in the eyes of strangers to science who reproach them with cruelty.’
      • ‘They talked for two hours, during which Baeck reproached him with all the accusations that he had heard against him.’
      • ‘Hermite had a kind of positive hatred of geometry and once curiously reproached me with having made a geometrical memoir.’
      • ‘But don't you dare to reproach me with one drop of blood or one writer in jail.’
      • ‘Emilia, still reproaching Othello with Desdemona's innocence, dies.’
      • ‘But at least no one can reproach me with treason!’
      • ‘In Chicago an ideologue reproached Wright with the example of one Comrade Evans, whose head was bandaged.’
      • ‘Lovelace is well aware of his friend's role, and he reproaches him for it.’
      • ‘Medicine can no longer reproach me with being unfaithful: I've paid a proper tribute to erudition, and to what old writers call pedantry.’
      • ‘When Holly reproaches Harry with the damage he has caused to his ‘victims,’ Harry makes the first of his famous speeches.’
      • ‘Whenever someone reproaches me with not having used an ordinary court for their sentencing, I can only say: In this hour I am responsible for the fate of the German nation and hence the supreme law lord of the German people.’
      rebuke, reprove, scold, chide, reprimand, admonish, chastise, upbraid, remonstrate with, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the riot act, give someone a piece of one's mind, haul over the coals, lecture, criticize, find fault with, censure, express disapproval of
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    2. 1.2archaic Censure or rebuke (an offense).


  • 1The expression of disapproval or disappointment.

    ‘he gave her a look of reproach’
    ‘a farrago of warnings and pained reproaches’
    • ‘Instead, I just dialled my mother's phone number, bracing myself against her reproaches.’
    • ‘Perhaps the most horrible aspect of Frank's world is not the existence of cruelty, but rather the possibility that life might be shaped by nothing more than the whims of others beyond control or reproach.’
    • ‘One of the main reproaches was the Australians' failure to hold the so-called Gap in the Owen Stanleys.’
    • ‘Painfully, torturedly, he bit his lip to keep the stream of reproaches and denials from bursting through the dam of his control.’
    • ‘That does not mean that the French reproaches against the British were all well founded.’
    • ‘The hint of reproach in ‘omission’ may not be quite fair to either of us.’
    • ‘All those reproaches aimed at us should have been directed against them, because their cinema was completely unreal.’
    • ‘Look at the Closet scene: Hamlet has just killed a man, Polonius, yet he heaps reproaches upon his mother's head for daring to re-marry.’
    • ‘The poem's thought about the aetiology of war, its main theme, is based on Christ's reproach of the Pharisees, who had upbraided the disciples for not washing their hands before eating.’
    • ‘They cite the demands, reproaches and scaremongering of an obsessed media.’
    • ‘Stung by his reproach, she counters by reminding him that her lack of ardor is understandable given their night of lovemaking.’
    • ‘The reproach was lightly mocking and they both laughed.’
    • ‘Although rock had become mainstream by the early 1970s, it continued to arouse resistance and to elicit reproach - and continues, indeed, to this day.’
    • ‘Some of his published works have met with strong criticism and reproach.’
    • ‘Aunt Alice frowned slightly at this reproach against her motherly duties, but the sorrow in her beautiful eyes could not be from this reproach alone, it was too deep.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the commission issued strong reproaches of the government.’
    • ‘No less absurd is the second reproach thrown upon capitalism - namely, that technological and therapeutical innovations do not benefit all people.’
    • ‘During a small seminar in Freiburg, he actually reproaches Heidegger for inattentiveness.’
    • ‘Interestingly, those last reproaches are similar to the grievances aired by Wanda's husband while he's waiting for her in court.’
    • ‘The characters often look up to the gods for guidance, speak of them and reproach them for putting such a predicament onto mortals of flesh and blood.’
    rebuke, reproof, reproval, admonishment, admonition, scolding, reprimand, remonstration, lecture, upbraiding, castigation, lambasting, criticism, censure, disapproval, disapprobation
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    1. 1.1a reproach to A thing that makes the failings of (someone or something else) more apparent.
      ‘his elegance is a living reproach to our slovenly habits’
      • ‘For Billy the boy is a nagging reminder of his own delinquent youth: for Shirley-Diane he is a strange mix of sex object and living reproach.’
      disgrace, discredit, source of shame, outrage
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    2. 1.2Reproaches (in the Roman Catholic Church) a set of antiphons and responses for Good Friday representing the reproaches of Jesus Christ to his people.


  • above (or beyond) reproach

    • Such that no criticism can be made; perfect.

      • ‘The sports players become the heroes and the country creates a pedestal where the athlete is beyond reproach and untouchable and this leads to all matter of problems.’
      • ‘Mutter's musicianship is beyond reproach, and she and the Trondheim Soloists go beyond and beneath and behind the notes to realize Vivaldi's creativity.’
      • ‘If you are running a trading operation, you have to be like Caesar's wife, beyond reproach.’
      • ‘Feeling, intonation, and expressiveness were all on par with the quality of the work itself, which is to say, completely beyond reproach.’
      • ‘Gordon Willis's cinematography is beyond reproach, captured in shades of burnt sienna and golden, autumnal hues, complemented by Dean Tavoularis's achingly beautiful production design.’
      • ‘These guys obviously have tons of ideas, and the arrangements and influences are all beyond reproach, but the record lacks the irresistible gravity of top-notch post-rock.’
      • ‘Our research is thorough and objective, and Mary Meeker's integrity is beyond reproach.’
      • ‘A strict two-seater, with the engine mounted behind the seats, the MR2 is a joy to drive as its handling and roadholding are beyond reproach.’
      • ‘Obviously, the peerless craft and genuflecting reverence are beyond reproach; those desiring a more progressive form are out of luck.’
      • ‘‘The quality of property in this region is beyond reproach - possibly the best available in Spain - but then that is what purchasers here expect as they are paying top dollar for the product,’ said Condon.’
      perfect, beyond criticism, blameless, above suspicion, without fault, faultless, flawless, irreproachable, exemplary, unimpeachable, impeccable, immaculate, unblemished, spotless, untarnished, stainless, unstained, pure, as pure as the driven snow, whiter than white, sinless, guiltless, unsullied
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Middle English: from Old French reprochier (verb), from a base meaning ‘bring back close’, based on Latin prope ‘near’.