take to task

Idioms & Phrases

take to task

Upbraid, scold; blame or censure. For example, The teacher took Doris to task for turning in such a sloppy report. This term, dating from the mid-1700s, at first meant either assigning or challenging someone to a task. Its current sense dates from the late 1800s.

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