One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A law passed by the British government in 1715 and repealed in 1967, designed to prevent civil disorder. The act made it a felony for an assembly of more than twelve people to refuse to disperse after being ordered to do so and having been read a specified section of the act by lawful authority.
read someone the Riot Act
Give someone a strong warning that they must improve their behavior.
reprimand, rebuke, scold, admonish, reprove, upbraid, chastise, chide, censure, castigate, lambaste, berate, lecture, criticize, take to task, give a piece of one's mind to, haul over the coalsView synonyms
- ‘Earlier in the year, he had read the Riot Act to unemployed protestors in Victory Square.’
- ‘It was not a matter of reading the Riot Act; it was a matter of a debriefing session which we normally do after a big fire.’
- ‘At 1.00 a.m. the mayor read the Riot Act and by 2.00 a.m. order had been restored before troops arrived at 6.00 a.m. from Sheffield.’
- ‘Up came the men in yellow and orange to read the Riot Act and cast a threatening cloud.’
- ‘‘Michael has a reputation for reading the Riot Act to civil servants.’’
- ‘In a three-hour meeting the military ruler read the Riot Act to his civilian subordinate and let the latter pretend that he was resigning on his own.’
- ‘The upshot was that the Mayor read the Riot Act and the they postponed their get-together until the following month.’
- ‘He was in with his boss the next morning, reading the Riot Act.’
Riot Act/ˈrīət akt/
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