riot act

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n Riot Act a former English law requiring mobs to disperse after a magistrate reads the law to them
    • n riot act a vigorous reprimand "I read him the riot act"
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Riot Act a statute designed to prevent riotous assemblies
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Idioms

Read someone the riot act - If you read someone the riot act, you give them a clear warning that if they don't stop doing something, they will be in serious trouble.
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. riotte; ety. dub.

Usage

In literature:

Riot act, 72, 176, 297.
"The Political History of England - Vol XI" by George Brodrick
Kate read him the riot act so sharply that the little puncher had not another word to say.
"Crooked Trails and Straight" by William MacLeod Raine
Surely I should be allowed to run for the Mayor and get him to read the Riot Act?
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, September 2nd, 1914" by Various
The women folks are reading the riot act and simply refusing to have the old lady visit them any more.
"The Comings of Cousin Ann" by Emma Speed Sampson
It was only when the Riot Act was read, and the troops were called out, that the rioting ceased.
"The 'Patriotes' of '37" by Alfred D. Decelles
The Custos then began to read the Riot Act.
"The History of the First West India Regiment" by A. B. Ellis
They were met by one of the Magistrates, who led them to the Workhouse and read the Riot Act.
"Gossip in the First Decade of Victoria's Reign" by John Ashton
He had the Riot Act read (by the mayor), and then threatened to fire on the mob.
"A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital" by John Beauchamp Jones
The opening is a riot, for the Enclosures Act is in force and the squire is seizing the people's land.
"A Novelist on Novels" by W. L. George
Stones were thrown; the Riot Act was read, more stones followed, and then the volunteers fired, and several persons were killed.
"The English in the West Indies" by James Anthony Froude
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In poetry:

And when the Barley boys broke out, and ended up in fight,
Or when the Barley baby read the Riot Act at night,
And on their balcony their cat put up an eerie moan,
The fearful Barley family might as well have been our own.
"The Happy Flatite" by Edward Dyson

In news:

Pussy Riot's Act of Faith The Nation.
Like ACT UP's action at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Pussy Riot's Punk Prayer at Christ the Savior was both a political protest and a religious performance.
It seems that Vladimir Putin read her the riot act — in front of the onlooking news corps.
A LOT HAPPENED in 1965, including the Watts riots, the signing of the Voting Rights Act, and the escalation of the War in Vietnam.
Respectable Street 25th Anniversary Block Party, with Misfits, Band in Heaven, Lavola, the Riot Act, and others.
We were having a conversation here in the newsroom just now and I used the phrase "reading the Riot Act " to describe one person severely reprimanding another.
Riot Act , Mike Daisey, and Plays About Occupy Wall Street.
Chris Heller leads this week's arts section with a look at the ugly legal battle brewing between the owners of the former Riot Act Comedy Theater, which reopened as the game-centric Penn Social this month.
Something funny is going on at the soon-to-be-former Riot Act Comedy Theater, but it's not a laughing matter.
Riot Act Comedy Theatre in Penn Quarter set to become Penn Social.
Riot Act Comedy Theatre's Second Act: A Bar (With Some Comedy).
Riot Act Comedy Theatre is about to shed its comedic side, at least partly.
A guide to reading your employees the riot act .
Acts like Mos Def, Dave Chappelle, Ra Ra Riot, Kid Sister, and Elephant Man have performed on The New Parish 's small stage.
Back in July, bassist Rudy Sarzo, who has played with nearly every metal act but is best known for his time with Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot and Whitesnake, left the band to concentrate on other projects.
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