Rake-over-the-coals definition

(idiomatic) To call to task or to reprimand severely.
verb
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Origin of rake-over-the-coals

  • The earliest example given is from 1565: "S. Augustine, that knewe best how to fetche an heretike ouer the coles." (OED). From the practice of dragging or raking heretics over coals performed by the Catholic Church as a form of torture.

    From Wiktionary