cold shoulder


Definition of cold shoulder

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cold shoulder

cold-shoulder transitive verb

Synonyms & Antonyms for cold shoulder


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


open arms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

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 Coming up, Alan Dershowitz getting the cold shoulder on Martha's Vineyard for defending the President, is that actual news. Fox News, "Media's Supreme Court scrutiny," 9 July 2018 And even though this one doesn’t have all the accouterments of newer models, its presence in my life is like a cup of hot cocoa in a world of cold shoulders. Darcel Rockett,, "Why we fall in love and stay in love with certain car models," 14 Feb. 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.

See More

First Known Use of cold shoulder

1816, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cold shoulder

Dictionary Entries near cold shoulder



cold shot

cold shoulder


cold shut


Statistics for cold shoulder

Last Updated

26 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cold shoulder

The first known use of cold shoulder was in 1816

See more words from the same year

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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