The French expression “passer un savon à quelqu’un” translates literally to “to pass a bar of soap to somebody”. English meanings include:
- to give somebody a talking-to
- to give somebody an earful
- to haul somebody over the coals.
A French synonym is simply the verb réprimander (to reprimand, tell off). Another French synonymous verb is gronder (to tell off). Here’s an example sentence:
- L’institutrice passe un savon à Johnny quand il se comporte mal en cours. The teacher gives Johnny an earful when he misbehaves in class.