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verb (used without object)
  1. to find fault; reprove.
  2. to use abusive language.
  1. a person who is constantly scolding, often with loud and abusive speech.
  2. common scold.

Origin of scold

1150–1200; (noun) Middle English, variant of scald < Old Norse skald poet (as author of insulting poems); see skald; (v.) Middle English scolden, derivative of the noun
Related formsscold·a·ble, adjectivescold·er, nounscold·ing·ly, adverbout·scold, verb (used with object)un·scold·ed, adjective

Synonyms for scold

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Antonyms for scold

1. praise. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scold

Contemporary Examples of scold

Historical Examples of scold

British Dictionary definitions for scold


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

Word Origin and History for scold

mid-12c., "person of ribald speech," later "person fond of abusive language" (c.1300), especially a shrewish woman [Johnson defines it as "A clamourous, rude, mean, low, foul-mouthed woman"], from Old Norse skald "poet" (see skald). The sense evolution might reflect the fact that Germanic poets (like their Celtic counterparts) were famously feared for their ability to lampoon and mock (e.g. skaldskapr "poetry," also, in Icelandic law books, "libel in verse").


late 14c., "be abusive or quarrelsome," from scold (n.). Related: Scolded; scolding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper