Haul/drag/rake someone over the coals

Origin of: Haul/drag/rake someone over the coals

Haul/drag/rake someone over the coals

To call someone to account, give someone a good dressing down, derives from the literal medieval practice of dragging heretics over live, burning coals. If they survived unscathed, they were judged innocent. The figurative usage is from the late 17th century. Rake someone over the coals is the preferred American idiom.