Haul Someone Over the Coals

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Drag Someone Over the Coals
Rake Someone Over the Coals

Meaning of Idiom 'Haul Someone Over the Coals'

To haul/drag someone over the coals means to angrily scold or reprimand them. 1,2,3


"If mom finds you got a speeding ticket she's going to haul your over the coals for sure."

"The boss dragged Jane over the coals for something she didn't even do!"

"How many times are you going to rake me over the coals for the same thing? I said I was sorry!"


From the early 1800's this idiom alludes to a form of medieval torture in which heretics were bodily dragged over red-hot coals. 2,3

1. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill's American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.

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