\ ˈkōld How to pronounce cold (audio) \

Definition of cold

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : having or being a temperature that is uncomfortably low for humans it is cold outside today a cold drafty attic
b : having a relatively low temperature or one lower than normal or expected the bath water has gotten cold
c : not heated: such as
(1) of food : served without heating especially after initial cooking or processing cold cereal cold roast beef
(2) : served chilled or with ice a cold drink
(3) : involving processing without the use of heat cold working of steel
2a : marked by a lack of the warmth of normal human emotion, friendliness, or compassion a cold stare got a cold reception also : not moved to enthusiasm the movie leaves me cold
b : not colored or affected by personal feeling or bias : detached, indifferent cold chronicles recorded by an outsider— Andrew Sarris also : impersonal, objective cold facts cold reality
c : marked by sure familiarity : pat had her lines cold weeks before opening night
3 : conveying the impression of being cold: such as
a : depressing, gloomy cold gray skies
4a : marked by the loss of normal body heat cold hands especially : dead … she lay cold and still—she was gone … — Upton Sinclair
b : giving the appearance of being dead : unconscious passed out cold
5a : having lost freshness or vividness : stale dogs trying to pick up a cold scent
b : far off the mark : not close to finding or solving used especially in children's games
c : marked by poor or unlucky performance the team's shooting turned cold in the second half
d : not prepared or suitably warmed up The player's sub entered the game cold.
in cold blood
: with premeditation : deliberately was killed in cold blood



Definition of cold (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : bodily sensation produced by loss or lack of heat they died of the cold
2 : a condition of low temperature extremes of heat and cold especially : cold weather He waited outside for her in the bitter cold.
3 : a bodily disorder popularly associated with chilling specifically : common cold She came down with a cold.
out in the cold
: deprived of benefits given others the plan benefits management but leaves labor out in the cold



Definition of cold (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : with utter finality : absolutely, completely turned down cold also : abruptly stopped them cold
2a : without introduction or advance notice walked in cold to apply for a job
b : without preparation or warm-up was asked to perform the solo cold

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Other Words from cold


coldish \ ˈkōld-​ish How to pronounce coldish (audio) \ adjective
coldly \ ˈkōl(d)-​lē How to pronounce coldly (audio) \ adverb
coldness \ ˈkōl(d)-​nəs How to pronounce coldness (audio) \ noun

Examples of cold in a Sentence

Adjective The water was too cold for swimming. The weather has been unusually cold this spring. a country with a cold climate It was a long, cold winter. It's cold outside, but the wind makes it feel even colder. It's bitterly cold out there! metal that is cold to the touch Are you cold? I could turn up the temperature if you'd like. a bowl of cold cereal He ate cold pizza for breakfast. Noun I mind cold more than heat. They died of exposure to cold. The cold really sets in around late November and doesn't let up until April. I stood there shivering in the cold. He waited outside for her in the bitter cold. Come in out of the cold. It's not the flu, it's just a cold. Adverb She was asked to perform the song cold.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The 55-year-old Detroit husband, father and grandfather had a bad cough from what seemed to be a cold, that's true. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, "In the coronavirus era, death is difficult. But so is being a mourner," 20 May 2020 Labus said that there is also no need to avoid running in either cold or warm weather. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "How to safely run outside amid the coronavirus pandemic," 19 May 2020 Some people get lucky and get cold or flu symptoms at worse. Alyssa Stoney, azcentral, "'This virus nearly killed me': Chandler doctor survives coronavirus after 55 days in the hospital," 15 May 2020 The United States in particular could be left in the cold if vaccines developed here as part of a go-it-alone approach turn out to be less effective than those produced in China or Europe. Anchorage Daily News, "Even finding a COVID-19 vaccine won’t be enough to end the pandemic," 12 May 2020 Kawasaki disease tends to strike otherwise healthy young children who have experienced a viral infection such as a cold or respiratory ailment. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Norton evaluating 2 children with symptoms of inflammatory illness tied to coronavirus," 12 May 2020 For Cornell William Brooks, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and former national president of the NAACP, the protests have recalled an adage: When white America gets a cold, black America gets pneumonia. Los Angeles Times, "At protests, mostly white crowds show how pandemic has widened racial and political divisions," 8 May 2020 But the short summary is that while there are good business and technical reasons for Apple to focus primarily on phones that are much larger than the earliest iPhones, there are some users who are left out in the cold as phones keep getting bigger. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iPhone SE review: Small screen, huge performance," 29 Apr. 2020 This was a little much, even for the coldest of warriors. Kevin Baker, Harper's Magazine, "The Striking Gesture," 27 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mozzarella cheese, cooked ham, sausage and beef at unsafe cold holding temperatures. Ebony Day, azcentral, "4 violations for Mesa pizza shop on this week's restaurant inspections," 19 May 2020 Back in the clubhouse, the Tigers' trainer rubbed a cold can of Red Bull on the arm to relieve the pressure. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers flashback: Justin Verlander becomes elite with second no-hitter in 2011," 7 May 2020 There is little doubt that the Russian cold poses a special set of problems, industry specialists say, although nothing is insuperable. Andrew E. Kramer, BostonGlobe.com, "Too cold for an oil cut? Russia’s move reveals a long-running bluff," 4 May 2020 And there’s logic behind that hope, because other respiratory infections, such as the flu and some colds, are largely seasonal. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "How Might the Change of Seasons Affect Covid-19?," 4 May 2020 The only two known to cause disease in humans, named OC43 and 229E, accounted for a small percentage of human colds every winter. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "How the pandemic made this virologist an unlikely cult figure," 28 Apr. 2020 This comes as no surprise, as demand for subcompact cars is ice cold in the age of the SUV. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Goes Beyond Basic Transportation," 22 Apr. 2020 At the beginning of his hospital stay, the worst part was the icy cold. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame football legend Terry Hanratty survived coronavirus: 'How close was I?'," 17 Apr. 2020 In addition, a brand new study at Harvard has suggested that Covid-19 may not go away in warm weather as colds do, because significant parts of the population remain vulnerable to the virus. Anup Malani, Quartz India, "Why does India have so few Covid-19 cases and deaths?," 16 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The idea to bring in Mr. Idol came from the Environmental Protection department’s marketing team, who cold-called his representatives to pitch it. Jeffery C. Mays, New York Times, "With a Rebel Yell, New York Revs Up Its War on Idling Vehicles," 27 Feb. 2020 But her funniest, most off-the-wall appearance in the role was during a 2017 Christmas cold open. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Leslie Jones' most memorable Saturday Night Live sketches," 27 Aug. 2019 Consulting the Yellow Pages, he cold-called the store, and got the job because Holloway’s mother got a good feeling about him on the phone. Gavin Edwards, charlotteobserver, "Pianos, mules, guitar strings: A 106-year-old family business is bidding it all goodbye," 8 June 2018 This wasn’t a promotional gimmick as much as an indication of the cheapness of Finley and persistence of Baer, who cold-called the owner to get the job. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Hot Pants Day’ and four other Oakland A’s gimmicks from the 1970s," 26 Mar. 2018 But the Falcons went ice cold early in the second half, and Milwaukee Lutheran went on a 13-4 run that gave the Red Knights a 60-54 lead with 12 minutes to play. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brown Deer shores up piece of sixth conference title in high-scoring win over Milwaukee Lutheran," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cold.' 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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cold


Middle English, going back to Old English cald (Anglian), ceald (West Saxon), going back to Germanic *kalða- (whence Old Saxon cald "cold," Middle Dutch cout, Old High German kalt, Old Norse kaldr, Gothic kalds), verbal adjective from *kalan- "to be cold" (whence Old English calan "to be cold, to make cold," Old Norse kala "to freeze") going back to a dialectal Indo-European base *ǵel-, *ǵol-, whence also Latin gelū, gelus "frost, cold," gelāre "to freeze, chill"


Middle English, going back to Old English ceald, cald, noun derivative of ceald, cald cold entry 1 (or derivative from the Germanic base of these adjectives)


derivative of cold entry 1

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Time Traveler for cold

Time Traveler

The first known use of cold was before the 12th century

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Statistics for cold

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cold. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for cold

How to pronounce cold (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cold

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having a very low temperature
: having a feeling of low body heat
of food : not heated



English Language Learners Definition of cold (Entry 2 of 3)

: a cold condition
: cold weather
: a common illness that affects the nose, throat, and eyes and that usually causes coughing, sneezing, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of cold (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a very clear, complete, and definite way
: in a sudden way
: without practicing or preparing before doing something
\ ˈkōld How to pronounce cold (audio) \
colder; coldest

Kids Definition of cold

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having a low temperature or one much below normal a cold day
2 : suffering from lack of warmth I feel cold.
3 : cooled after being cooked We ate cold chicken.
4 : served at a low temperature or with ice Have a cold drink.
5 : lacking warmth of feeling : unfriendly She's been cold to me ever since our disagreement.
in cold blood
: with planning beforehand

Other Words from cold

coldly adverb
coldness noun



Kids Definition of cold (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a condition of low temperature : cold weather I can't stand the cold.
2 : the bodily feeling produced by lack of warmth : chill He was shivering with cold.
\ ˈkōld How to pronounce cold (audio) \

Medical Definition of cold

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : having or being a temperature that is noticeably lower than body temperature and especially that is uncomfortable for humans a cold drafty room
b : having a relatively low temperature or one that is lower than normal or expected the bath water has gotten cold
c : receptive to the sensation of coldness : stimulated by cold a cold spot is a typical receptor in higher vertebrates
2 : marked by the loss of normal body heat cold hands
3 : dead
4 : exhibiting little or no radioactivity

Other Words from cold

coldness \ ˈkōl(d)-​nəs How to pronounce coldness (audio) \ noun



Medical Definition of cold (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : bodily sensation produced by loss or lack of heat
2 : a bodily disorder popularly associated with chilling:
a in humans : common cold
b in domestic animals : coryza

Medical Definition of COLD (Entry 3 of 3)

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More from Merriam-Webster on cold

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cold

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cold

Spanish Central: Translation of cold

Nglish: Translation of cold for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cold for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cold

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