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ˈshrəg How to pronounce shrug (audio)
 especially Southern  ˈsrəg
shrugged; shrugging

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


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: an act of shrugging
: a woman's small waist-length or shorter jacket

Examples of shrug in a Sentence

Verb I asked if he wanted to go out to dinner, and he just shrugged. He just shrugged his shoulders.
Recent Examples on the Web
Gomez and Blanco both shrugged and shook their heads for their answer. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 13 July 2024 Americans shrug those costs off in the interest of progress, Japanese don’t. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, 5 July 2024
Asked about the extracurricular workout, Chavez shrugs. Michael Errigo, Washington Post, 10 July 2024 Public shrugs as city asks for input June 3, 2024 The city’s first Black chief — and its first outside leader in more than four decades — Williams was credited with steadying the LAPD in the wake of the uprising sparked by the acquittal of four officers in the beating of Rodney King. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for shrug 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shrug.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English schruggen

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near shrug

Cite this Entry

“Shrug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


shrugged; shrugging
: to draw or hunch up the shoulders usually to express doubt, uncertainty, or lack of interest
shrug noun

More from Merriam-Webster on shrug

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