"Scold" is an old-fashioned word for the expression of speaking someone angrily because you disapprove of their behavior. Then, after looking up in Merriam Webster, it came up lots of synonyms of "scold", formal and informal. Even using Ngram Viewer to look them up, but I wonder if the following expressions are orally common used in daily life nowadays to replace "scold" in the example.

"He keeps 'chewing out/hammering/lambasting/ranting at/upbraiding/tongue-lashing his son for breaking his favorite china plate."

  • 1
    Upbraid is, I would say, as old-fashioned as scold. Telling off or (British) ticking off are other possibilities. Aug 11, 2021 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


Sure you can use these words. They are not really common, and I don't think I've met "hammering" with this meaning, but I'd understand it well enough in context.

The flavour of these words is quite a bit stronger than "scold". Some have particular contexts. "Chew out" is nearly only used of American sports: "The coach chewed out the player who gave away the penalty that lost the game". Similarly "ranting at" suggests someone who is out of control and shouting. On the other hand, lambasting is more formal but still extreme.

Given the fact that these are more extreme than "scold", it would be odd to "keep giving one's son a tongue-lashing". It would be more of a one-off event.

Awww, my dad gave me a right tongue-lashing when he found out I'd broken his old plate.

For a casual expression, something like "going on" is not so aggressive.

My dad keeps going on at me about that old plate I broke. It's been weeks, why's he still mad?

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .