verb (used with object), re·buked, re·buk·ing.

to express sharp, stern disapproval of; reprove; reprimand.


sharp, stern disapproval; reproof; reprimand.

Origin of rebuke

1275–1325; Middle English rebuken (v.) < Anglo-French rebuker (Old French rebuchier) to beat back, equivalent to re- re- + bucher to beat, strike < Germanic
Related formsre·buk·a·ble, adjectivere·buk·er, nounre·buk·ing·ly, adverbun·re·buk·a·ble, adjectiveun·re·buked, adjective

Synonyms for rebuke

1. censure, upbraid, chide, admonish. See reproach. 2. reproach, remonstration, censure. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rebuke

Contemporary Examples of rebuke

Historical Examples of rebuke

  • Then, he bethought himself of a subtle form of rebuke by emphasizing his generosity.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • They darted from Garson to the other three men, and back again in rebuke.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Aggie sniffed vehemently in rebuke of the gross partiality of fate in his behalf.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

  • Times before had he said them before Phoebe Hart, and she had passed them by with no rebuke.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for rebuke



(tr) to scold or reprimand (someone)


a reprimand or scolding
Derived Formsrebukable, adjectiverebuker, noun

Word Origin for rebuke

C14: from Old Norman French rebuker, from re- + Old French buchier to hack down, from busche log, of Germanic origin
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 rebuke

early 14c., "to reprimand, reprove; chide, scold," from Anglo-French rebuker "to repel, beat back," Old French rebuchier, from re- "back" (see re-) + buschier "to strike, chop wood," from busche (French bûche) "wood," from Proto-Germanic *busk- (see bush (n.)). Related: Rebuked; rebuking.


early 15c., "a reproof, reprimand," from rebuke (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper