Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
1. noun A display or appearance of disinterest; a snub. This phrase usually refers to the act of ignoring someone. It originated with the 19th-century practice of serving of a cold shoulder of meat to tiresome guests. She thinks you started that rumor about her—that's why she's been giving you the cold shoulder all day.
2. adjective Describing a type of women's shirt that has sleeves but leaves the shoulders exposed. In this usage, the phrase is typically hyphenated. I think I'm too old to be wearing a cold shoulder top like that!
to ignore someone; to give someone a cool reception. (See also the cold shoulder.) The hostess cold-shouldered me, so I spilt my appetizers in the swimming pool. Tiffany cold-shouldered the guy who was trying to flirt with her.