\ 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

Keuchel laughed and shrugged at the 35-year-old Verlander's approach. Jerome Solomon, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel differ in routes to same objective," 10 Mar. 2018 Musk and Ness whisper, and then Musk shrugs, and Ness dashes off to fix it. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Kimbal Musk Is Reinventing Food One Shipping Container at a Time," 24 Oct. 2018 Lots of people would have shrugged and walked away, rather than continue the tedious process of getting their money back, especially from 2,000 miles away. Sean P. Murphy,, "Apartment management won’t return security deposit? That’s just one problem at this Revere complex," 11 June 2018 Then came the sound of fans standing, shrugging and trudging to the exits. Terry Pluto,, "Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James turn in a magical performance -- Terry Pluto (photos)," 4 May 2018 Nvidia’s answer is to shrug and suggest asking the companies that made the misbehaving monitor. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Here's what happens when using a GeForce GPU with a non-validated FreeSync monitor gets ugly," 9 Jan. 2019 His experiences taught him to shrug stuff off stuff that would have left us in tears. Fox News, "The life and legacy of Sen. John McCain," 28 Aug. 2018 Joe shrugs and smiles his way through the convo, though his face is shades of this: Moving on... Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Bachelor in Paradise Season 5, Episode 1 Recap: All About Colton," 7 Aug. 2018 Part of being a leader is not giving up when others are shrugging their shoulders and saying a problem can’t be solved. Olivia Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gabrielle Giffords and Edna Chavez Refuse to Be Silenced on Gun Control," 8 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Facebook later bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, to a collective shrug from regulators. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s morale problem is getting worse," 6 Dec. 2018 Which explains why, when presented with the appearance of something moving faster than light, astronomers would greet it with a shrug, confident that the quirks of the system explain the apparent violation of physics. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Why things can look like they’re moving faster than light," 9 Sep. 2018 As each of these bombshells detonate, sometimes within hours of each other, congressional Republican leaders then react with little more than a shrug. Ronald Brownstein, CNN, "Beating Republicans in November will be harder than Democrats thought," 22 May 2018 Bring up politics on the streets of the Bronx and you will be met with shrugs. The Economist, "The L wordWho is a Democrat?," 12 July 2018 Philipps tagged Hanks in the tweet and added three shrug emojis. Ale Russian,, "Busy Philipps Jokes She and Ex Colin Hanks Are Psychopaths for Being Friends," 9 July 2018 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

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

15 Feb 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on shrug

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shrug

Spanish Central: Translation of shrug

Nglish: Translation of shrug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shrug for Arabic Speakers

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marked by fawning attentiveness

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