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shrug (one's) shoulders

1. Literally, to make a gesture by raising and dropping one's shoulders, often meaning that one does not know something or is indifferent to something. Don't just shrug your shoulders—I want an answer! I asked the kids if they wanted pizza for dinner and they just shrugged their shoulders. I thought they would be excited about it.
2. To feel or display indifference, indecision, or an inability to do something. Too many people simply shrug their shoulders when it comes to getting enough exercise. If they encounter something they can't resolve, management just shrugs their shoulders and ignores it.
See also: shoulder, shrug

shrug off

1. To dismiss, ignore, or minimize the importance of someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shrug" and "off." I've been warning the boss about the issue for weeks, but he just keeps shrugging me off. You have to learn to shrug off the negative opinions of others if you want to succeed in this industry.
2. To rid or free oneself from someone or something that one finds unpleasant, upsetting, or annoying. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shrug" and "off." My little brother has been pestering me all day, so I finally just shrugged him off and went to the gym. I've had a hard time shrugging off this cold.
See also: off, shrug

shrug something off (as something)

 and pass something off (as something)
to ignore something unpleasant or offensive as if it meant something else. She shrugged off the criticism as harmless. I passed off the remark as misinformed. Bill scolded me, but I just passed it off.
See also: off, shrug

shrug off

1. Minimize the importance of, as in That nasty review didn't bother him at all; he just shrugged it off. [Early 1900s]
2. Get rid of, as in She managed to shrug off her drowsiness and keep driving. [Mid-1900s]
3. Wriggle out of a garment, as in He shrugged off his coat. [First half of 1900s]
See also: off, shrug

shrug one's shoulders

Show indecision or indifference, as in When I asked her if she minded staying home, she just shrugged her shoulders. This redundant idiom- shrug means "to raise and contract the shoulders"-dates from about 1450.
See also: shoulder, shrug

shrug off

1. To dismiss something with a gesture of doubt, disdain, or indifference: She shrugged off her mother's advice. Rather than respond to their insults, he just shrugged them off and kept walking.
2. To minimize the importance of something: The coach shrugged off the defeat and talked about the team's improvement. The politician shrugged the allegations off, calling them absurd.
3. To get rid of something: I hope that I can shrug off this cold before the game next weekend. I began to feel sleepy, but I shrugged it off and kept driving.
4. To wriggle out of some clothing: He shrugged off his shirt and put it in the laundry basket. She shrugged her coat off and hung it in the closet.
See also: off, shrug
References in periodicals archive ?
I said it could be for someone dying, that's why there in a rush and he shrugged his shoulders.
In an effort to warn the American people of what lay in store if the trends were not reversed, and to promote the philosophy she called objectivism, she wrote her most famous works, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
Leonard Peikoff (2004) explains that the most extraordinary quality of Atlas Shrugged is its integration.
World number two Lee Westwood shrugged off his ankle problem to charge into title contention in the Dunhill Links Championship third round.
If you poll 100 people who just read Atlas Shrugged for the first time, you will find that almost all of them did not know that when Dagny descended into that valley and crashed, all the missing friends would be there, that this was "a strike," and that she would find the actual John Galt and he had caused the strike.
who gives out copies of Atlas Shrugged to departing interns, and Rep.
Dave Pearson put Rugby two up after 20 minutes when he chased on to Adam Hart's long clearance, shrugged off a defender and planted a left- foot shot in the corner of the goal.
Earlier, the lawyers had contacted the Siedler firm, which shrugged off the complaints.
Rand's social and economic ideas have a large following, and many listeners will welcome this summary of the ideas developed more completely in her larger novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
BRITNEY SPEARS shrugged off a nightmare week to turn up at America's Teen Choice awards in Los Angeles.
We want the athlete to drive with the legs, raising up on the toes as the shoulders are shrugged.
Olive appears to have shrugged off responsibility for the conditions, as a statement on the company web site says: "We don't employ farmworkers; the growers do.
When I mentioned that I was looking forward to seeing his work, he shrugged and remarked that, after all, it wasn't really his work I'd be seeing.
The formermodel shrugged off the gaffe, tweeting last night : "No embarrassment here.