raked over the coals
AmySul3
Does anyone know where this phrase originates from? My best guess is the bible and that it is some reference to hell. It's only a guess though. Does anyone (out there) know for sure??
AtoZ
The following was copied from elsewhere on the web and not independently verified.


The Oxford English Dict. has "'To haul, call (obsolete: fetch, bring) over the coals': to call to account and convict, to reprimand, call to task: originally in reference to the treatment of heretics." Earliest example given is from 1565: "S. Augustine, that knewe best how to fetche an heretike ouer the coles."

"The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985) has the same example from 1565 and attributes it to William Fulke's "A Confutation."

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