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throw the book at

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Punish or reprimand severely, as in I just knew the professor would throw the book at me for being late with my paper. This expression originally meant “sentence a convicted person to the maximum penalties allowed,” the book being the roster of applicable laws. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

How to use throw the book at in a sentence

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