cold case

noun

Definition of cold case

: an unsolved criminal investigation (as of a homicide or abduction) that has stopped being actively pursued because of a lack of evidence The case is pursued diligently by various detectives, but eventually abandoned and filed away among other cold cases.— Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2014

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of cold case

1973, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About cold case

Time Traveler for cold case

Time Traveler

The first known use of cold case was in 1973

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near cold case

cold call

cold case

cold cash

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cold case

Cite this Entry

“Cold case.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cold%20case. Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!