What does the idiom "Give someone the cold shoulder" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does Give someone the cold shoulder mean? In what situations is Give someone the cold shoulder used?

Meaning of "Give someone the cold shoulder"

Meaning

To give someone the cold shoulder is an idiom which is used to describe a situation where someone is deliberately not showing someone else any attention or in some cases actively ignoring them. It is generally used to express the idea of someone not being accepted by a group or community for some reason.

Etymology

The term started to be used in the Middle Ages, where literal cold shoulders of meat were a common dish. During this time, if someone were to refuse this offering or ignore it, it symbolised a disregard for the other person. So, it has been suggested that the phrase has been used to describe a situation where someone is deliberately given the cold shoulder as a sign of hostility or disrespect.

Usage

The phrase is generally used to describe a situation where someone is being deliberately ignored or not accepted due to some reason. It is also used to express feelings of resentment or anger between two parties and in some cases to show disapproval of someone’s behaviour or actions. It is also used to express a sense of disappointment or hurt when someone is not given the attention they expected or deserved.

Example Sentences

  • When she arrived at the party, she was given the cold shoulder by her former friends.
  • She was given the cold shoulder after she made fun of her classmate.
  • He was given the cold shoulder after he was caught lying to his parents.

The meanings of the words in the "Give someone the cold shoulder" idiom

Idioms with similar meaning

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is an English idiom that means you shouldn't make assumptions about someone or something based solely on its appearance. In Japanese, the similar idiom is "Hana yori dango," which translates to "Dumplings rather than flowers." This idiom means that substance is more important than appearance.

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