chew out

Idioms & Phrases

chew out

Scold harshly, as in Dad will chew you out for taking the car without permission. Originating in the military, this slangy term began to be used during World War I and soon spread to civilian life. Several vulgar versions, such as chew someone's ass out, should be avoided in polite speech. Also see eat out, def. 2.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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