• To rebuke angrily.
  • Of birds, to make harsh vocalisations in aggression.
  • Of birds, to make vocalisations that resemble human scolding.


  • The noun is from Middle English scold, skald, first attested in the 12th or 13th century (as scold, scolde, skolde, skald). The verb is from Middle English scolden, first attested in the late 1300s. Most dictionaries derive the verb from the noun and say the noun is probably from Old Norse skald (cognate with Icelandic skáld), as skalds sometimes wrote insulting poems, though another view is that the Norse and English words are cognate to each other and to Old High German skeldan, Old Dutch skeldan, all inherited from Proto-Germanic *skeldaną ("scold").

Modern English dictionary

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