To Chew Out
Kaly: You are not going to believe what Jenny just told me!
Kaly: Well, you know that it was Jenny’s 21st birthday last Saturday. Of course it was a big deal and she was really looking forward to an exciting party. She thought that her boyfriend had something really big planned out, but when he came to take her out, they ended up just going to a movie and to dinner at Burger King. It turns out that her boyfriend completely forgot it was her birthday! Can you believe it?
Sanae: No! How terrible for Jenny!
Kaly: Yes, I know. She was so angry by the end of the night that she really chewed him out when he dropped her off at her house after dinner. She almost broke up with him!
Sanae: I don’t blame her. Actually, I forgot my boyfriend’s 24th birthday last year and he really chewed me out for it. He wouldn’t talk to me for a week!
Jimmy: I really don’t know what to do. My boss is so mean.
Tammy: Why? What happened?
Jimmy: Well, I’ve been running into a lot of traffic lately on the way to work, so I was late a couple of days in a row. Today, when I was only 2 minutes late, my boss just chewed me out. I was so shocked.
Tammy: You really shouldn’t be late to work. You know how important it is to be on time.
Jimmy: Yes, I know. But I don’t like being chewed out in front of everyone else at work. He could have at least taken me into his office and chewed me out privately.
Tammy: You’re right about that.
Jimmy: Well, I guess I won’t be late anymore!
To chew someone out means to angrily tell someone that their actions are unacceptable. In the first example, Jenny was really mad at her boyfriend because he forgot her birthday. So, she chewed him out. A lot of times, “to chew out” is used when the subject is the superior (boss, parent, teacher, etc.). In example 2, Jimmy’s boss chewed him out for being late.
This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Speaking Transitions. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 4 Listening/Speaking classes. For more information, please visit: www.languagesystems.com