Definition of Riot Act in English:

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Riot Act

Pronunciation: /ˈrīət akt/
A law passed by the British government in 1715 and repealed in 1967, designed to prevent civil disorder. The act made it a felony for an assembly of more than twelve people to refuse to disperse after being ordered to do so and having been read a specified section of the act by lawful authority.


read someone the Riot Act (or riot act)

Give someone a strong warning that they must improve their behavior.
Example sentences
  • ‘Michael has a reputation for reading the Riot Act to civil servants.’
  • The upshot was that the Mayor read the Riot Act and the they postponed their get-together until the following month.
  • Up came the men in yellow and orange to read the Riot Act and cast a threatening cloud.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Ri·ot Act

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