verb (used with object)

to caution, advise, or counsel against something.
to reprove or scold, especially in a mild and good-willed manner: The teacher admonished him about excessive noise.
to urge to a duty; remind: to admonish them about their obligations.

Origin of admonish

1275–1325; late Middle English admonish, amonesche, admonesse, amoness, Middle English a(d)monest (with -t later taken as past participle suffix) < Anglo-French, Old French amonester < Vulgar Latin *admonestāre, apparently derivative of Latin admonēre to remind, give advice to (source of -est- uncertain), equivalent to ad- ad- + monēre to remind, warn
Related formsad·mon·ish·er, nounad·mon·ish·ing·ly, adverbad·mon·ish·ment, nounpre·ad·mon·ish, verb (used with object)un·ad·mon·ished, adjective

Synonyms for admonish

Synonym study

1. See warn. 2. See reprimand. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for admonishing

warning, admonitory, exemplary, monitory, reproachful

Examples from the Web for admonishing

Contemporary Examples of admonishing

  • He made an admonishing speech to Wall Street last week, but it was a day late and a trillion dollars short.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Mouthing Off Is All the Rage

    Tina Brown

    September 21, 2009

Historical Examples of admonishing

  • Sometimes Jukes would break in, admonishing hastily: "Look out, sir!"


    Joseph Conrad

  • Eileen Pederstone looked in admonishing surprise at her father.

  • She swept an admonishing glance towards the others as she did so.

    The Bondwoman

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • The admonishing domino, hitherto peaceful, now took umbrage.

  • The young mistress of the house seemed to be admonishing, instructing, someone.

    Marriage la mode

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

British Dictionary definitions for admonishing


verb (tr)

to reprove firmly but not harshly
to advise to do or against doing something; warn; caution
Derived Formsadmonisher or admonitor, nounadmonition (ˌædməˈnɪʃən), nounadmonitory, adjective

Word Origin for admonish

C14: via Old French from Vulgar Latin admonestāre (unattested), from Latin admonēre to put one in mind of, from monēre to advise
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for admonishing



mid-14c., amonesten "remind, urge, exhort, warn, give warning," from Old French amonester (12c.) "urge, encourage, warn," from Vulgar Latin *admonestare, from Latin admonere "bring to mind, remind, suggest;" also "warn, advise, urge," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + monere "advise, warn" (see monitor (n.)).

The -d- was restored on Latin model. The ending was influenced by words in -ish (e.g. astonish, abolish). Related: Admonished; admonishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper