SAT vocabulary: rebuke

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


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.

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