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Raked over the coals

Posted by R. Berg on June 19, 2001

In Reply to: Raked over the coals posted by Linda on June 19, 2001

: can someone tell me how old the phrase "raked over the coals" is? Getting desperate... thanks for any help

: Linda

The Oxford English Dict. has "'To haul, call (obsolete: fetch, bring) over the coals': to call to account and convict, to reprimand, call to task: originally in reference to the treatment of heretics." Earliest example given is from 1565: "S. Augustine, that knewe best how to fetche an heretike ouer the coles."