cold shoulder

cold shoulder


  • to treat somebody with coldness and contempt
  • to ignore somebody
  • an expression of intentional unfriendliness
  • knowingly behave in an unfriendly way
  • express dismissal or the act of disregarding someone
  • also used to describe a type of dress or top (literally) – See example # 6

Example Sentences

  1. I fought with my wife, and she is now giving me the cold shoulder.
  2. I always thought that Jenny is my friend, but yesterday she gave me the cold shoulder.
  3. After the news spread about her direct involvement in the big scandal, the friends and relatives gave her the cold shoulder and eventually, she had to leave the town forever.
  4. She turned a cold shoulder towards my efforts to express affection.
  5. Scientist gets cold shoulder after global warming warning in the meeting.
  6. She gave fans the cold shoulder in a slouchy white knit on the album art, a single tear streaming down her face.
  7. Emma gave him the cold shoulder and pretty much ignored him at the party.


There is an interesting story behind the origin of “cold shoulder” that the idiom stems from serving a cold shoulder of mutton or other meat to an unwanted guest or frequent visitor. Still, not all linguists agree with this theory.

The oldest printed record of the idiom was in a novel titled The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott in the Scots language published in 1816.

“Ye may mind that the Countess’s dislike did na gang farther at first than just shewing o’ the cauld shouther …”

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Idiom of the Day

put your foot in it

Meaning: say something (by mistake) that upsets, humiliates, or embarrasses someone

Example: Carla put her foot right in it when she congratulated her neighbour on being pregnant. It turns out she's not expecting but had just put on weight. Read on


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