cold shoulder


Definition of cold shoulder

: intentionally cold or unsympathetic treatment got the cold shoulder from an old friend

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Other Words from cold shoulder

cold-shoulder transitive verb

Synonyms & Antonyms for cold shoulder


brush-off, rebuff, repulse, silent treatment, snub


open arms

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Examples of cold shoulder in a Sentence

at the party the two former friends consciously gave each other the cold shoulder

Recent Examples on the Web

Some gave him the cold shoulder, while others threatened him with arson, boycott of his dairy products, and physical attack. Ray Cavanaugh, Time, "Max Yasgur Rented Out His Farm for Woodstock. His Neighbors Sued Him," 14 Aug. 2019 Thus, the reason why Smith received a cold shoulder before an early exit. J.l. Kirven, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-Detroit Piston Josh Smith booed, then ejected in BIG3 opener at LCA," 23 June 2019 Reddit user u/Waitingforadragon thinks that Jon's cold shoulder is an outward reflection of his inward identity crisis. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Why Didn't Jon Snow Say Goodbye to Ghost the Direwolf on 'Game of Thrones'?," 8 May 2019 But Nicky, now still chain-smoking and drinking, now living in a rundown trailer, brushes off Jack’s cold shoulder and invites him inside for some hot chocolate. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Reveals the Truth About Nicky," 23 Jan. 2019 The sense of power that new managers gain can offset the cold shoulder from colleagues, a 2015 study says. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "When a Promotion Means Losing Friends at Work," 26 Feb. 2019 Those cold shoulders were easy to ignore when the jobless rate was above 6 percent and the Army’s most dependable recruiter, Sgt. Dave Philipps, The Seattle Times, "The Army, in need of recruits, turns focus to Seattle, other liberal-leaning cities," 2 Jan. 2019 Making the case for a little skin, however, is Vogue cover girl Emily Blunt, who gave passerbys the November cold shoulder yesterday in Los Angeles. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Emily Blunt's Risky Skin Reveal Is a Lesson in Year-Round Body Confidence," 15 Nov. 2018 Beheading, for example, took care of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Mary Stuart and lesser irritants, until the chop gave way to the cold shoulder (Edward who?). Anna Mundow, WSJ, "‘Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret’ Review: The Id of the Royal Family," 3 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cold shoulder.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cold shoulder

1816, in the meaning defined above

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Learn More about cold shoulder

Dictionary Entries near cold shoulder


cold shot


cold shoulder


cold shut


Statistics for cold shoulder

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for cold shoulder

The first known use of cold shoulder was in 1816

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More from Merriam-Webster on cold shoulder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cold shoulder

Comments on cold shoulder

What made you want to look up cold shoulder? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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