shoulder

noun
shoul·​der | \ ˈshōl-dər \

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 \

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 \ 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 lowkey, casual photos of what seems to be an at-home wedding bash, Miley looks completely stunning in an off-shoulder white dress, with understated, simple makeup and her blonde hair worn loose. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Wait, Did Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Just Quietly Get Married?," 24 Dec. 2018 Tourists and locals stand shoulder to shoulder in front of the grills on Friday nights in Oistin for the weekly fish fry, then plop down on plastic chairs to eat hot swordfish, marlin, mahi mahi, tuna, and more and wash it down with a cold beer. Kaitlin Menza, Town & Country, "The Best Things to Do, Eat, and See in Barbados," 15 Nov. 2018 Her hair appears to reach no longer than her shoulders, and half of it is held up in a clip. Marci Robin, Allure, "Jordyn Woods Shows Off Her Freshly Cut Natural Curls on Instagram," 18 Sep. 2018 Oversize rounded shoulders, which were sometimes dramatically raised from the body, were a new silhouette variation on the house’s bread-and-butter cinched waist looks. Washington Post, "Standing ovation at Valentino caps Paris couture week," 4 July 2018 But this piece fit differently from shoulder to hem. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear to Death: My Mother's '90s Dress From The Limited," 26 Dec. 2018 Standard Interceptor body armor plus helmet weighs more than 20 lbs., and the total rises if additional elements are added to protect the neck, arms, groin, and shoulders. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Overloaded Soldier: Why U.S. Infantry Now Carry More Weight Than Ever," 26 Dec. 2018 It’s made of solid memory foam with a contoured design to fit the curve around your head, neck, and shoulders. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "7 Best Memory Foam Pillows You Can Buy," 21 Dec. 2018 If your dress is strapless or mini, slather on a lotion with a shimmering tint, then dust shoulders and collarbones with a bronzing powder for an extra dose of radiance. Seventeen.com Editors, Seventeen, "50 Life-Changing Prom Beauty Tips You Haven't Heard Before," 19 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When you're done with all of your reps, perform a back swing: Bring the bell through your legs but instead of thrusting your hips forward to bring it to shoulder level, safely place it back down and return back to the initial hike position. Amy Marturana, SELF, "How to Do the Perfect Kettlebell Swing," 4 Jan. 2019 Tourists and locals stand shoulder to shoulder in front of the grills on Friday nights in Oistin for the weekly fish fry, then plop down on plastic chairs to eat hot swordfish, marlin, mahi mahi, tuna, and more and wash it down with a cold beer. Kaitlin Menza, Town & Country, "The Best Things to Do, Eat, and See in Barbados," 15 Nov. 2018 But local organizers are shouldering on-the-ground planning, many of them women relying on informal networks established during worldwide women's marches on Trump's inauguration and its anniversary. Fox News, "Thousands rally nationwide for illegal immigrant families separated at border," 2 Oct. 2018 Either way, the USA Network legal drama will shoulder on next season without Markle or her on-screen husband, played by Patrick J. Adams. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Does Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Miss Suits?," 12 July 2018 For families that often use a third row of seats, the roomy Atlas will shoulder their needs. Tom Voelk, New York Times, "26 Vehicles Played in the Mud. Here’s the Dirt.," 12 July 2018 With a wider than shoulder width stance, bend your knees and step up with your right foot, skipping one step. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stepping up your training can boost your heart, lower-body muscles," 11 July 2018 Messi shouldered the blame for his team's failure to beat Iceland after skying a penalty kick that would have won the match and secured a top slot for the team. Julia Poe, SI.com, "How to Watch France vs Argentina: World Cup Live Stream, TV Channel, Time," 30 June 2018 But local organizers are shouldering on-the-ground planning, many of them women relying on informal networks established during worldwide women’s marches on Trump’s inauguration and its anniversary. Washington Post, "Protests planned nationwide over Trump immigration policy," 30 June 2018

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

18 Jan 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 \

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 \

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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