Definition of scold in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Remonstrate with or rebuke (someone) angrily.

    ‘Mom took Anna away, scolding her for her bad behavior’
    • ‘During Geometry classes they talked non-stop and were scolded by the teacher from time to time about their excessive talking.’
    • ‘I mentally scolded myself for being so foolish, for getting so carried away.’
    • ‘His wife was shaking a customer's hand and laughing graciously, before gently scolding the children.’
    • ‘"Oh shush, " his mother scolded him before pointing at his food.’
    • ‘My daughter will scold me if I swear in front of her though, so she's keeping me in line.’
    • ‘My mother was usually present too, and I remember her soft voice always gently reprimanding me for being too rough, or quietly scolding my sister for complaining too much.’
    • ‘He is scolding his daughter for not turning up to school.’
    • ‘I was surprised not to hear my mother's voice scolding the maid.’
    • ‘"I don't know why you've gone and told me all this, " the woman scolded angrily.’
    • ‘I remember two years ago when I was scolded by three teachers in school.’
    • ‘Children are rarely scolded, though rowdiness is sometimes criticized.’
    • ‘"Yeah, pretty boy, I got that, " she lightly scolded.’
    • ‘I silently scolded Leah for being so careless and went to turn it off.’
    • ‘"Leave her alone, Georgina, " my father had scolded my mother.’
    • ‘My father scolded me and instead told Holly to just take her time deciding.’
    • ‘Likewise, if one scolds a person too much, then he can't handle things well as expected.’
    • ‘With his hands on his hips, he looked like a mother scolding a child.’
    • ‘The cow, forgetting about me for the moment, turned, purple with fury, to scold the person in question.’
    • ‘I scold him just before he brings the lighter to the tip.’
    • ‘"Friends, not cronies, " her mom scolded lightly.’
    rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reprove, admonish, remonstrate with, chastise, chide, upbraid, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the riot act, give someone a piece of one's mind, go on at, haul over the coals, criticize, censure
    rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reproof, admonishment, admonition, reproval, remonstration, lecture, upbraiding, castigation, lambasting, criticism, censure
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    1. 1.1no object (of a bird) call loudly and persistently.
      ‘the gulls wheeled and scolded above the lake’


  • A person, in particular a woman, who nags or grumbles constantly.

    ‘his mother was the village scold’
    ‘the fiscal scolds insist that reform will make everything even worse’
    • ‘Surely, they must be the most uncomfortable garment ever invented, this side of a scold's bridle.’
    • ‘The Taming of the Shrew recalls a tradition of stories about scolds.’
    • ‘These scolds may defy common sense, but they're still worthy of attention because they represent the consensus among the profession's elite.’
    • ‘It may not be as bad as some lifestyle scolds make it out to be.’
    • ‘Yet people short on money often neglect the advice of the professional scolds and instead turn to the damnable moneylenders.’
    nag, nagger, shrew, fishwife, harpy, termagant, harridan
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Middle English (as a noun): probably from Old Norse skáld ‘skald’.