throw the book at


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.

QUIZZES

BEAT THE DOLDRUMS WITH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

We know you’ll tackle this quiz totis viribus! See how many words from the week of Oct 12–18, 2020 you get right!
Question 1 of 7
What does “Indigenous” mean?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.