shoulder

noun
shoul·​der | \ ˈshōl-dər How to pronounce shoulder (audio) \

Definition of shoulder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the laterally projecting part of the human body formed of the bones and joints with their covering tissue by which the arm is connected with the trunk
b : the region of the body of nonhuman vertebrates that corresponds to the shoulder but is less projecting
2a : the two shoulders and the upper part of the back usually used in plural
b shoulders plural : capacity for bearing a task or blame placed the guilt squarely on his shoulders
3 : a cut of meat including the upper joint of the foreleg and adjacent parts — see lamb illustration
4 : the part of a garment at the wearer's shoulder
5 : an area adjacent to or along the edge of a higher, more prominent, or more important part: such as
a(1) : the part of a hill or mountain near the top
(2) : a lateral protrusion or extension of a hill or mountain
b : either edge of a roadway specifically : the part of a roadway outside of the traveled way
6 : a rounded or sloping part (as of a stringed instrument or a bottle) where the neck joins the body

shoulder

verb
shouldered; shouldering\ ˈshōl-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce shouldering (audio) \

Definition of shoulder (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to push or thrust with or as if with the shoulder : jostle shouldered his way through the crowd
2a : to place or bear on the shoulder shouldered her knapsack
b : to assume the burden or responsibility of shoulder the blame

intransitive verb

: to push with or as if with the shoulders aggressively

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Other Words from shoulder

Noun

shouldered \ ˈshōl-​dərd How to pronounce shouldered (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for shoulder

Synonyms: Verb

accept, assume, bear, take over, undertake

Antonyms: Verb

disavow, disclaim, disown, repudiate

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Examples of shoulder in a Sentence

Noun

He rested the baby's head on his shoulder. He grabbed my shoulder and turned me around. She carried a backpack on one shoulder. The horse is five feet high at the shoulder. We had pork shoulder for dinner.

Verb

He shouldered the blame for the project's failure. The company will shoulder the costs of the repairs. She shouldered the full burden of raising three children. He shouldered the door open. She shouldered through the crowd. She shouldered her way through the crowd. The soldiers shouldered their rifles and marched away.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the video, Pantaleo can be seen wrapping one arm around Garner's shoulder and the other around his neck before jerking him back and pulling him to the ground. Mark Morales, CNN, "Five years after Eric Garner's death, questions remain over officer's actions in the confrontation," 16 July 2019 The small parrot, who can say her own name, likes to perch on Wolf’s shoulder and cuddle up against her neck. Janene Holzberg, baltimoresun.com, "Meet Howard County Library System’s ‘famous’ artist-in-residence," 15 July 2019 The third kit is composed of a white shirt, designed with the mesh camouflage effect like the away jersey, with sky blue patches on the shoulders and the sides. SI.com, "Napoli Kit Leak: Images Surface Online of 2019/20 Mesh Camouflage Away and Third Kits," 14 July 2019 Paul George is recovering from operations on both shoulders and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the season. Dylan Hernandez, latimes.com, "Anthony Davis was smart not to make any long-term promises to the Lakers and their fans," 13 July 2019 Leonard, one coach noted, was dragging during the playoffs despite his regular-season load management program, George underwent offseason surgeries on both shoulders, and Beverley has had recurring injury issues during his career. Ben Golliver, The Denver Post, "Analysis: Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers are the envy of the NBA, but hold off on the coronation," 11 July 2019 Police said the officer was conducting a traffic stop on westbound Interstate 30 near Fielder Road when an SUV drifted onto the shoulder and hit the officer's motorcycle. Dallas News, "Arlington motorcycle cop sent to hospital after DWI suspect veers off road, crashes," 10 July 2019 The workout targets your arms, shoulders, and back by alternating between exercises meant to train power (using quick, explosive movements) and ones that focus on muscular strength, Ciaccia explains. Amy Marturana, SELF, "A 4-Move Upper-Body Kettlebell Workout to Strengthen Your Arms, Back, and Shoulders," 9 July 2019 Shortstop Orlando Arcia was holding his left arm and shoulder while being carted off the field after colliding with second baseman Keston Hiura in the eighth inning. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Brewers' Orlando Arcia is injured and Keston Hiura shaken up in a frightening collision," 6 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Other communities are abandoning the shows rather than shoulder the financial burden. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan communities use GoFundMe to pay for fireworks displays," 19 June 2019 Please don’t be the parent of a child that has to shoulder that burden. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Man Offers 'Free Dad Hugs' at Pride Parade and Says the Positive Response Is 'Humbling' But 'Sad'," 14 June 2019 Peter is 16 years old in this movie, and much is made of the tension between him shouldering the burden of heroism while still being an actual child in a post–Iron Man world. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," 24 June 2018 Kelvin Sampson is still arguably the best coach in the conference, though, and there are players who should be capable of shouldering bigger loads offensively. Caleb Friedman, SI.com, "AAC Offseason Report: Power Rankings and Burning Questions for 2019–20," 18 June 2019 The situation is riling local officials who say the federal government is not shouldering its fair share of security costs in the Trump era, which has seen an influx of demonstrators to the nation’s capital. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Report: Trump still owes D.C. $7 million for inauguration," 14 June 2019 Some experts suggested that both countries share some blame, with the world shouldering the costs. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "A Tanker War in the Middle East—Again?," 14 June 2019 The situation is riling local officials who say the federal government is not shouldering its fair share of security costs in the Trump era, which has seen an influx of demonstrators to the nation’s capital. Peter Jamison, Washington Post, "Trump still owes D.C. $7 million in inauguration costs as he plans July Fourth gala," 14 June 2019 The increases will impact both new developments and resales, although some agents said developers may shoulder the additional cost for buyers by dropping prices amid a very slow market. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "New York’s Mansion Tax Could Explain Blitz of Big-Ticket Sales," 13 June 2019

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

Noun

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for shoulder

Noun

Middle English sholder, from Old English sculdor; akin to Old High German scultra shoulder

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Statistics for shoulder

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shoulder

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

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More Definitions for shoulder

shoulder

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shoulder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the part of your body where your arm is connected
: the part of an animal's body where a front leg is connected
: a cut of meat from the shoulder of an animal

shoulder

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shoulder (Entry 2 of 2)

: to deal with or accept (something) as your responsibility or duty
: to push (something) with your shoulder
: to move forward by pushing through something with the shoulders

shoulder

noun
shoul·​der | \ ˈshōl-dər How to pronounce shoulder (audio) \

Kids Definition of shoulder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the part of the body of a person or animal where the arm or foreleg joins the body
2 : the part of a piece of clothing that covers a person's shoulder
3 : a part that resembles a person's shoulder in shape the shoulder of a hill
4 : the edge of a road

shoulder

verb
shouldered; shouldering

Kids Definition of shoulder (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to push with the shoulder He shouldered his way through the crowd.
2 : to accept as a burden or duty You must shoulder the blame.

shoulder

noun
shoul·​der | \ ˈshōl-dər How to pronounce shoulder (audio) \

Medical Definition of shoulder

1 : the laterally projecting part of the human body formed of the bones and joints with their covering tissue by which the arm is connected with the trunk
2 : the two shoulders and the upper part of the back usually used in plural

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Comments on shoulder

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