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SAT vocabulary: rebuke

A cat rebukes another cat.
An auto-focus fail. =/

rebuke

What does “rebuke” mean?

Part of Speech: VERB or NOUN

Pronunciations: IPA: /rɪ.ˈbyuk/ Glossary-style: [rih-BYOOK]

Definition: verb: criticize sharply, especially in an angry way expressing disapproval. noun: an expression of strong or angry disapproval or criticism.

Example: The mother rebuked her child for running into the street without looking for traffic first.

Discussion: “rebuke” is commonly used as a noun or a verb (i.e., one form is not necessarily more or less common than the other), with both forms having pretty much the same meaning. A rebuke is a form of sharp criticism, often tinged with anger. Think of criticism that is charged with emotion, and you’ll get the idea. For example, a law enforcement officer would likely not have strong personal feelings about someone’s exceeding the speed limit and would treat the offender (well, most likely, anyway) in a professional, businesslike way when issuing a citation for speeding. So, for such a relatively minor trangression, a police officer would be less likely to rebuke the offender than would a parent.

A parent may very well have much stronger feelings if her child broke an important rule and would be more likely to rebuke her child than would an indifferent professional. A parent, for example, might be concerned for the safety of her child and might very well (rightly) rebuke little Vester for driving 100 MPH in her new Cheverolet Camaro.

By Erin Billy

Founder of TestMagic, Inc. in San Francisco, USA.

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