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  • Noun




Geraldine believed that it was her civic duty to protest some new construction, so she wrote a diatribe in her long and angry letter to the editor of the local paper. Her strong disapproval of the land development caught everyone’s attention—such a fierce diatribe or written criticism surprised even the editor himself. Geraldine’s furious letter of protest or diatribe against excessive development influenced many other locals in the area, who filed complaints as well.

Quiz: What is a diatribe?

  • A speech or piece of writing that attacks an idea or activity.
  • A complaint that conveys anger in a short burst—and then quickly becomes apologetic.
  • A letter to an editor that examines an important and somewhat heated local issue.

Memory Hook

Dial a Tribe If you don't like a particular tribe, you could dial that tribe and speak a diatribe against it, all from the convenience of your own home!


  • Rather than bothering to even thank his mother, [Michael] Moore launched into an anti-war diatribe that started by asserting that President Bush was an illegitimate president and ended by saying the entire battle in Iraq is phony. —Newsweek
  • The futility of efforts to permanently silence Bin Laden was brought home Friday when he released his first video message since 2004, a 26-minute, anti-U.S. diatribe. —Harper's Magazine
  • When he launched into a diatribe and used a vulgar expression, the mic was cut off and he was carried off to the applause of many in the audience, all the while resisting the police. —The Christian Science Monitor

Word Ingredients

dia- thoroughly
trib rub, thresh, pound
e used for spelling and pronunciation

To level a diatribe against another person is to “thoroughly rub or pound” them with angry words, trying to drive home the point that you are very displeased.

Word Theater

Howard Stern on The Late Show with David Letterman Howard Stern delivers a diatribe.

Word Constellation