1. express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions

    “she had rebuked him for drinking too much“

    “the judge publicly rebuked the jury“


  1. an expression of sharp disapproval or criticism

    “he hadn’t meant it as a rebuke, but Neil flinched“

(from the Oxford English Dictionary)

I ran into the word whilst watching an episode of Elementary.

The scene continued to feature more rich language.

Holmes: I’ve given further consideration to your rebuke regarding my capacity for niceness.

Watson: I didn’t mean it as a rebuke. I was trying to have a conversation.

Holmes: Either way, you have a point… There is unquestionably a certain social utility to being polite. To maintaining an awareness of other people’s sensitivities. To exhibiting all the traits that might commonly be grouped under the heading “nice”.

Watson: I think you’ll be surprised how easy it is to earn that designation.

Holmes: No. I am not a nice man. It’s important that you understand that.


Holmes: There is not a warmer, kinder me waiting to be coaxed out into the light. I am acerbic. I can be cruel. It’s who I am; right to the bottom. I’m neither proud of this, nor ashamed of it. It simply is.

Having lines like these is actually not uncommon for the Holmes character and is one of the reasons I enjoy the show so much. Short musings and rants containing rich language happen at regular intervals throughout the series’ episodes.

My compliments to the writers of the show for producing a showpiece for the English language. It is a pleasure to be reminded of these words and even more so to learn about new ones.