In the dictionary

scold /skəʊld $ skoʊld/ verb [transitive]

to angrily criticize someone, especially a child, about something they have done SYN tell off

Do not scold the puppy, but simply and firmly say ‘no’.

scold somebody for (doing) something

Her father scolded her for upsetting her mother.


In everyday English, people usually say tell someone off rather than scold someone:

She told us off for making a mess.

tell somebody ↔ off phrasal verb if someone in authority tells you off, they speak to you angrily about something wrong that you have done

be/get told off Shelley was one of those kids who was always getting told off at school.

tell somebody off for doing something My dad told me off for swearing.

re‧buke /rɪˈbjuːk/ ●○○ verb [transitive]

formal to speak to someone severely about something they have done wrong SYN reprimand

rebuke somebody for doing something

Members of the jury were sharply rebuked for speaking to the press.

blame1 /bleɪm/ ●●● S2 W3 verb [transitive] 1 to say or think that someone or something is responsible for something bad

Don’t blame me – it’s not my fault.

I blame his mother. She does everything for him.

blame somebody/something for something

Marie still blames herself for Patrick’s death.

The report blames poor safety standards for the accident.

The decision to increase interest rates was widely blamed (=blamed by many people) for the crisis.

blame something on somebody/something

One of the computers is broken and she’s blaming it on me.

The crash was blamed on pilot error.

if your child did bad things, which verbs would you use: "scold", "rebuke", "tell off" or "if your child did bad things, which verbs would you use: "scold", "rebuke", "tell off" or "blame"?"?


As your Longman link says, tell off is more often used in everyday language than scold. Rebuke is even more formal.

To blame someone means to say that they were responsible for a wrong action, often when speaking to someone else; it isn't the same as 'telling them off'.


A child is 'scolded' or 'chided' or 'yelled at' if they are naughty.

All of these imply that the actor is in a position of power and engaging in a parochial relationship, which is what it sounds like you want.

'Rebuked' is most often used between equals, it emphasizes displeasure.

'Told off' is like somewhat like rebuked, but indicates that the actor is especially or genuinely angry and that their words are mean, cutting, or somewhat unhinged. It can connote that the actor got a sense of relief from the "telling off" - unlike how one might 'scold' a child.

'Blame' simply means to assign a person as the cause of a negative event. It is often used when a third party is "watching", so that you 'blame' another 'in front of' the the third party - or it can connote trouble in a relationship between two people ('he blames me for his mother's death')

  • Why the downvote? Please leave a comment as well if you disagree. – BadZen Nov 27 '19 at 16:26

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