to throw the book at someone

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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to reward someone

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b) to punish someone too lightly

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c) to punish someone severely

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To punish someone as much as the laws or rules allow. Some laws or rules can be somewhat lenient, depending on the judge or person in charge. To throw the book at someone means to impose possible maximum punishment or jail sentence against a convicted criminal.

If one throws the book at someone, it means that one has decided to reprimand someone as severely as possible.

French translation

réprimander sévèrement, passer un savon

How NOT to translate : *lancer le livre à quelqu’un
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Examples in context

Judge throws the book at rioters : Hits them with $1 million bail

A clearly fed-up judge from Pennsylvania just threw the book at some rioters, hitting them with a whopping $1 million bail after they allegedly violently protested the police shooting of a knife-wielding man in Lancaster.

Twelve adults and one juvenile were arrested by Lancaster police officers at around 3am on Monday, according to Fox News. This came after chaos ensued following the Sunday afternoon death of Ricardo Munoz, a mentally ill 27 year-old man who was caught on body camera footage charging an officer with a knife.’

Life Zette, 15 Sept. 2020

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Patent Office Throws the Book at Travel Company

Online travel company Booking Holdings Inc. faced off against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office vying for its ability to trademark its web name Booking.com.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the historically tech-allergic Supreme Court to convene from afar for the first time ever via a teleconference. The case also included a live audio feed for the public for the first time.
It also could offer a temperature check for how U.S. authorities currently view Big Tech.’

The Wall Street Journal, 13 May 2020

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Everyday usage

After the accident, the safety inspector threw the book at the company directors

I made the police officer angry, so he took me to the station and threw the book at me.

I just knew the professor would throw the book at me for being late with my paper.


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