\ ˈshrəg How to pronounce shrug (audio) , 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

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: Verb And if companies shrug their shoulders and say, well, too bad, that will have a chilling effect on anyone who’s thinking about starting a family. Kevin T. Dugan, Fortune, 12 Oct. 2021 Of course, with Mahomes chucking the ball and guys like Kelce catching it, the Chiefs barely shrug in such circumstances. Barry Wilner, ajc, 20 Sep. 2021 If recent history is a guide, Republicans in positions of power will shrug at the new revelations. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 15 Sep. 2021 China may just shrug and wait for The Wandering Earth 2 instead. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 But coming out of Roger Penske’s newest, greatest treasure and into his own backyard, the three veteran drivers who have served as the team’s backbone for five seasons are left to throw their hands up and shrug their shoulders. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 11 June 2021 Do not shrug your shoulders and wave your hands that this is somehow just the vagaries of AI. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Those protesters drew a connection between mainstream enjoyment of Asian products and the way most Americans seemed to shrug at anti-Asian rhetoric and violence throughout our history. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 May 2021 Those who don’t like the Olympics, shrug it off as unimportant. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sinema took her oath in a form-fitting, floral pencil skirt, pumps with little floral pompoms at the toe and a pale-gray fur shrug. Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2021 And Balmain showed a silk mini dress with an image of Elbaz and a 3D bowtie topped off with a shrug made of layers upon layers of hot pink ruffles. Blue Carreon, Forbes, 7 Oct. 2021 Arguably the event’s MVP was Khaby Lame, who has become a global sensation—and a source of pride here in Italy—thanks to his shrug-heavy skewering of histrionic social media attention-seeking. Luke Leitch, Vogue, 24 Sep. 2021 Bentley flashed his left arm presnap as if to tell teammates where the ball was going before shooting through the gap (and a phantom shrug block from center Connor McGovern) and dropping Carter for a 3-yard loss., 21 Sep. 2021 That was the sad-shrug manner the larger Hard Rock Stadium took it by then. Dave Hyde,, 18 Sep. 2021 Like most planning and forecasting efforts, external financial planning for 2021 was essentially done with a shrug, as most models based on year-over-year growth were thrown out the window due to the pandemic. Matthew Leone, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 Each spoonful dissolved with a shrug on my tongue, leaving behind a shock of sourness. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Aug. 2021 Always looking at the clock midday and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug., 5 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for shrug

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near shrug



shrug away

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Statistics for shrug

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shrug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce shrug (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on shrug

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shrug

Nglish: Translation of shrug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shrug for Arabic Speakers


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