cold fish


: a cold aloof person

Example Sentences

She's a lovely person, but her husband's a bit of a cold fish. her husband is such a cold fish that I'm reluctant to have them over for dinner
Recent Examples on the Web As Alfred Uhry’s book — also a Tony winner — relates, Leo, the manager of a pencil factory owned by Lucille’s uncle, is a misfit in Atlanta: a New York Jew but also a cold fish. Jesse Green, New York Times, 16 Mar. 2023 There would be plates of bright red tuna crudo, the cold fish drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt flakes. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Aug. 2022 Uncle Richard came round to the flat especially to reason with her, and reported back to Hilary that his niece was a funny sort of girl, bit of a cold fish, very set on her own ideas. Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022 Each ticket comes with a 15-minute window for pickup, to avoid any risk of long lines and cold fish. Star Tribune, 25 Feb. 2021 That solace is not forthcoming, and not only because Elliot is a very cold fish. Jesse Green, New York Times, 21 June 2018 Frank thought him, despite the expensive suit, the leather briefcase and the manicured hands, or perhaps because of them, a cold fish. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, 25 Mar. 2018 There is nothing cathartic or healthful about breaking a cold sweat, and a cold fish is not attractive as entrée or lover. Michelle Weber, Longreads, 19 Dec. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cold fish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1924, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cold fish was in 1924

Dictionary Entries Near cold fish

Cite this Entry

“Cold fish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

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