give (one) the cold shoulder

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give (one) the cold shoulder

To intentionally appear disinterested toward one; to 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.
See also: cold, give, shoulder
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

give someone the cold shoulder

COMMON If someone gives you the cold shoulder, they deliberately stop being friendly to you and ignore you. Something's happened and I don't know what it is, but he's giving me the cold shoulder. He was upset to find his previously friendly colleagues giving him the cold shoulder. Note: You can also say that you get the cold shoulder from someone. Nancy found she was getting the cold shoulder from a lot of people she'd thought were her friends. Note: You can say that someone or something is cold-shouldered when people ignore or refuse to be interested in them. You can also talk about cold-shouldering. Since the President's election four years ago, he's been consistently cold-shouldered by the international community. The biggest stars stayed away from the festival in solidarity with their government's cold-shouldering of the country. Note: A shoulder is a cut of meat which includes the upper part of the animal's front leg. This expression refers to a medieval practice where important guests were given roast meat. Less important people were only given cold meat left over from previous meals.
See also: cold, give, shoulder, someone
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

cold shoulder, to give/show the

To snub someone; to assume a distant manner, or show indifference. The term dates from the early nineteenth century and was frequently used by Sir Walter Scott. It is believed to come from the custom of serving hot meat to welcome guests, and of serving a cold shoulder of mutton or beef, considered a much inferior dish, when they had outstayed their welcome.
See also: cold, give, show, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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