[ skohld ]
/ skoʊld /
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See synonyms for: scold / scolded / scolding / scolder on Thesaurus.com

Definition of scold

verb (used with object)
to find fault with angrily; chide; reprimand: The teacher scolded me for being late.
verb (used without object)
to find fault; reprove.
to use abusive language.
a person who is constantly scolding, often with loud and abusive speech.
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Origin of scold

First recorded in 1150–1200; (noun) Middle English, variant of scald, from Old Norse skald “poet” (as author of insulting poems); see skald; (verb) Middle English scolden, derivative of the noun

synonym study for scold

1. See reproach.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does scold mean?

Scold means to angrily or harshly tell someone that they’ve said or done something you think is wrong, often with the intent of making them feel bad about it so that they don’t do it again

A person may scold both other people and animals when they do something wrong. When it comes to people, it is often adults scolding children.

The noun scold refers to a person who frequently judges other people or points out their faults. This sense of the word is almost always used negatively to imply that such a person scolds too much or is often angry.

Example: My dad scolded my dog after it chewed up the couch.

Where does scold come from?

The first records of scold come from about 1150. It was used as both a noun and a verb (as scolden) in Middle English. It ultimately comes from the Old Norse word skald, “author of insulting poems.”

Odds are good that at some point in your life, you were scolded by your parents or a teacher when you misbehaved. When a person scolds someone else, they are making it clear that they disapprove of what the person did by angrily lecturing or criticizing them. The goal is to embarrass or shame the person so they won’t repeat the behavior. For example, a school teacher is very likely to scold a bully if they catch them in the act.

The word scold is often used specifically to describe when an adult corrects the behavior of a child or pet.

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What are some other forms related to scold?

  • scoldable (adjective)
  • scolder (noun)
  • scolding (noun)
  • scoldingly (adverb)
  • outscold (verb)

What are some synonyms for scold?

What are some words that share a root or word element with scold

What are some words that often get used in discussing scold?

How is scold used in real life?

Scold is particularly used when parents or teachers are criticizing a person. The noun form is almost always used negatively.



Try using scold!

Is scold used correctly in the following sentence?

My coach was so happy with my impressive performance that he scolded me in front of the team.

How to use scold in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for scold

/ (skəʊld) /

to find fault with or reprimand (a person) harshly; chide
(intr) to use harsh or abusive language
a person, esp a woman, who constantly finds fault

Derived forms of scold

scoldable, adjectivescolder, nounscolding, nounscoldingly, adverb

Word Origin for scold

C13: from Old Norse skald
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