Sentence example:

I am really upset and frustrated with one of my friends. So when I meet him next time around I will definitely not hold myself back and give him a piece of my mind.

What alternative expressions can I use instead of "piece of my mind"?

  • 1
    Note: I just altered a suggested edit that used "peace of someone's mind". "Peace of mind" is the absence of stress or anxiety. "Give someone a piece of my mind" is to harshly and aggressively criticise them because I disapprove of their actions.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 18:16
  • 1
    Why do you feel you need an alternate expression? The idiom is "a piece of my mind."
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 19:02
  • @Jim, maybe they want to gild the lily, to wax long, large and lyrical, to lay it on thick, to embellish and embolden by tautophrasic repetition and rhetorical rhythms. Or maybe they'd just used it once already and figured it was too strong an idiom to repeat much.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 19:24
  • 1
    @JonHanna- Having the OP tell us why he needs an alternative mighty help us to find an acceptable one. Incidentally, I don't think gild the lilly fits at all here.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 20:24
  • @Jim, I know, I just couldn't resist a bit of lily-gilding myself (and using several synonyms when one would do would fit gilding the lily).
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 20:53

3 Answers 3


Give him a good talking to

Have a few words with him (euphemistic understatement of a sort suitable for the fictional Michael Corleone)

Have something to say to him (likewise euphemistic understatement)

Chew him out

Give him a bollocking (British and Irish, considered offensive)

Tell him off

Give him a (severe, real, strong) telling off

Give him a dressing down

Tell him what I think of him.

Chew the ass/arse of him.

Bawl him out.


It's definitely informal (but so is every other suggestion here so far)...

Tell it like it is - speak frankly
Tell the truth no matter who is criticized or how much it hurts.
Describe a situation honestly without avoiding any unpleasant details.

(I've highlighted the first definition as a less informal alternative.)

Note that tell it like it is fits all contexts where OP's not hold myself back might be used. It can, but doesn't necessarily, imply hostility/aggression, whereas give him a piece of my mind always does.


You can also:

"read him the riot act"
"vent your spleen"
"chew him out"


From The Phrase Finder:

In English law the control of unruly citizens has usually been the responsibility of local magistrates. Any group of twelve or more that the authorities didn't like the look of could be deemed a 'riotous and tumultuous assembly' and arrested if they didn't disperse within an hour of the Riot Act being read to them by a magistrate. This seems a little harsh, but in 18th century England the government was fearful of Jacobite mobs who threatened to rise up and overthrow the Hanoverian George I. The fear was well-founded, as supporters of the deposed Stuarts did actually invade in 1715 and again in 1745. The 'Riot Act' was passed by the British government in 1714 and came into force in 1715. The Riot Act, which was more formally called 'An act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters' actually contained this warning:

"Our sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the King."

"VENT ONE’S SPLEEN" verbal phrase [1641]: To let loose one’s anger, displeasure, malice, or ill-humor on another; to release one’s emotions in a fit of temper; to criticize somebody fiercely and vindictively for one’s own gratification. This expression uses vent in the sense of ‘air’ and spleen in the sense of ‘anger,’ as in Some people see town council meetings as a place where they can vent their spleen.

From Wordwizard.com

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