Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
An English law, enacted in 1715 and repealed in 1973, providing that if 12 or more people unlawfully assemble and disturb the public peace, they must disperse after being read a specified portion of the law or be considered guilty of felony.
read the riot act
To warn or reprimand energetically or forcefully: The teacher read the riot act to the rowdy class.
1. (Law) criminal law (formerly in England) a statute of 1715 by which persons committing a riot had to disperse within an hour of the reading of the act by a magistrate
2. read the riot act to someone to warn or reprimand someone severely
an English statute of 1715 making it a felony for an assembly of 12 or more persons to refuse to disperse when ordered by an authority.Idioms:
read someone the riot act, to reprove or warn someone sharply.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||riot act - a vigorous reprimand; "I read him the riot act"|
|2.||Riot Act - a former English law requiring mobs to disperse after a magistrate reads the law to them|
law - legal document setting forth rules governing a particular kind of activity; "there is a law against kidnapping"
criminal law - the body of law dealing with crimes and their punishment