rip into: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘rip into’ mean?

The idiom "rip into" means to criticize or attack someone or something harshly, often in a forceful or angry manner.

Idiom Explorer


The idiom "rip to shreds" is closely related to "rip into" and shares a similar meaning. It is also used to describe someone criticizing or attacking someone or something in a harsh or forceful manner. The phrase "rip to shreds" suggests tearing something apart completely, emphasizing the intensity and thoroughness of the criticism or attack.

The idiom "rip off" is another related phrase that has a slightly different meaning. It is used to describe someone being deceived or cheated, often in a financial context. The word "rip" in this context suggests forcefully taking something away or exploiting someone. While "rip into" focuses on criticizing or attacking, "rip off" focuses on the act of being deceived or cheated.

She lambasted him for his irresponsible behavior.

The idiom "cut to pieces" is also related to "rip into" and shares a similar figurative meaning. It is used to describe someone fiercely criticizing or dismantling someone or something. The phrase "cut to pieces" suggests chopping or slicing something into small, fragmented parts, symbolizing the thoroughness and intensity of the criticism or attack.

The idiom "bust one's chops" is a more informal and colloquial phrase that is related to "rip into" in terms of criticism or attack. It is used to describe someone teasing or mocking someone else in a playful or sarcastic manner. The phrase "bust one's chops" conveys the idea of playfully breaking down or challenging someone's ideas or opinions, often using humor or sarcasm.

Nipping at something, on the other hand, is not directly related to "rip into" in terms of meaning, but it shares a similar figurative sense of criticism or attack. When someone "nips at" something, it means they make small, sharp criticisms or attacks. It can be used to describe someone repeatedly making small verbal jabs or criticisms.

The idiom "rip into" is primarily used in American English to describe aggressive criticism or attack. It can be related to other idioms such as "rip to shreds," "rip off," "cut to pieces," "bust one's chops," and "nip at," which all convey various forms of criticism or attack with different shades of meaning. These idioms reflect the preference for direct, forceful language and confrontations in American English, but it is important to consider the appropriate context and potential aggression of these expressions.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *rip into* can be used in a sentence:

  • My boss ripped into me for submitting the report late.
  • My mother ripped into my brother for coming home past curfew.
  • The teacher ripped into the students for not completing their homework.

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