rake over the coals

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Jan 3 19:43:08 UTC 2008

At 1/3/2008 08:22 AM, Dennis Preston wrote:
>"Raked over the coals"? Phrasal etymologists to the rescue? My mind's
>eye tells me that "racked over..." would be more accurate.

I suspect from senses of rake (v1), a la Mark
Mandel's examples of "haul [over the coals]", e.g.:
3. To draw or drag in a specified direction with,
or as with, a rake (freq. with implication of
sense 2). Const. with various preps. and advbs.,
as:  a. with out, out of. to rake out a fire: to
clear the embers out of the grate.
    1412–20 and on.


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