\ ˈshrəg , especially Southern ˈsrəg \
shrugged; shrugging

Definition of shrug 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to raise or draw in the shoulders especially to express aloofness, indifference, or uncertainty

transitive verb

: to lift or contract (the shoulders) especially to express aloofness, indifference, or uncertainty



Definition of shrug (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of shrugging

2 : a woman's small waist-length or shorter jacket

Examples of shrug in a Sentence


I asked if he wanted to go out to dinner, and he just shrugged. He just shrugged his shoulders.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Observers shrugged when Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006. Adam Candeub, WSJ, "Will Microsoft’s Embrace Smother GitHub?," 24 June 2018 So, shrug this off or take your revenge in good time (over a nice Cobb salad). Philip Galanes, New York Times, "But We’re So Young," 21 June 2018 The response was raised eyebrows and shrugs: No one seemed moved. Rachel Kushner, Vogue, "Rachel Kushner on the San Francisco Dives of Her Youth, and That Time She Tended Bar With Keith Richards," 27 Apr. 2018 Our daughter shrugged, then turned around and walked back to her bed. Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Redbook, "24 Cringe-Worthy Stories From Parents Whose Kids Walked In On Them Having Sex," 11 Sep. 2017 The Orioles have nothing to play for, so if an outing doesn’t go Britton’s way with the bigger picture in mind, everyone kind of just shrugs. Jon Meoli,, "It's already July. Where do the Orioles stand on the trade market for their departing stars?," 2 July 2018 Most England fans just shrugged - after all, their side had faced Italy and Uruguay in successive matches, without completely disgracing themselves in either of those 2-1 defeats., "An Urgent Message to England Fans at the World Cup - Please Calm Down & Get Real!," 27 June 2018 As for gerrymandering, though, high court justices have just collectively shrugged their shoulders. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, "On election issues, US Supreme Court sticks to the shallows," 18 June 2018 But Neel shrugged it off, retiring eight straight batters, before walking two batters in the fourth. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Dyson’s 6 RBIs power NASA-West 12s to district-opening victory," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After six months of getting shoulder-shrug-emoji’ed by the team whose No. David Murphy,, "Markelle Fultz's summer-league decision with Sixers will show if he is listening to the right people | David Murphy," 29 May 2018 Many classes began as normal, with almost no acknowledgement of the political change except a nod or a shrug or a wry joke. Em Odesser, Teen Vogue, "Why Our School Walkout Took a Different Path," 14 Mar. 2018 As Chicago’s minimum wage jumps to $12 per hour Sunday, from $11, restaurant owner Laura Gutierrez Ramos is marking the milestone with a shrug. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "Chicago's minimum wage is about to jump to $12 per hour. Who are the winners and the losers?," 29 June 2018 But in many academic fields, the technology is still greeted with shrugs and quizzical looks. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Muons: The Little-known Particles Helping to Probe the Impenetrable," 28 May 2018 Also nowhere to be seen are Charlie Hunnam (shrug), Ron Perlman (wha?) and Guillermo del Toro (damn). Justin Chang,, "'Pacific Rim Uprising' is a big, noisy, cheerfully dumb monsters-and-robots sequel," 22 Mar. 2018 Camp time, people will say to each other and shrug, explaining this phenomenon. Shelly Oria, Longreads, "How to Be Single," 2 July 2018 Privacy - Terms What Americans think of as paella would only draw a shrug, or maybe a laugh, in Spain. Daniel Neman, sacbee, "Spanish food? Sí, por favor!," 29 May 2018 There are echoes of that obfuscation in Trump's tweets and Giuliani's shrug this morning. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "Trump's implanted-informant theory is a lot like his unfounded wiretapping allegation," 19 May 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shrug


Middle English schruggen

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Statistics for shrug

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shrug

The first known use of shrug was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for shrug



English Language Learners Definition of shrug

: to raise and lower your shoulders usually to show that you do not know or care about something


\ ˈshrəg \
shrugged; shrugging

Kids Definition of shrug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to raise and lower the shoulders usually to express doubt, uncertainty, or lack of interest



Kids Definition of shrug (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of raising and lowering the shoulders

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