shrug one's shoulders

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 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
References in classic literature ?
"In that case," said Don Quixote, "the Lord has relieved me of the task of avenging his death had any other slain him; but, he who slew him having slain him, there is nothing for it but to be silent, and shrug one's shoulders; I should do the same were he to slay myself; and I would have your reverence know that I am a knight of La Mancha, Don Quixote by name, and it is my business and calling to roam the world righting wrongs and redressing injuries."
One reaction that many have when confronted with an evolving problem that is massive in scope and threat is to become numb and either ignore it, or to shrug one's shoulders and have a mindset of I am only one person, what difference can I make?
"KE garne?" an old lady said to us, tears pouring down her cheeks, as we visited her earthquake-battered village in the Dhading district of Nepal last month:"What to do?" With a history of repeated crises political, economic and natural it has become the Nepali way to shrug one's shoulders and hope for the best.
It is simply impossible to shrug one's shoulders when the tax payer who foots the bill is braced for misery as the next Chancellor begins to sharpen his pencil.
For pro-lifers, the temptation to groan, shrug one's shoulders, and lapse into depression-induced cynicism is always present.
The NHS is a huge service and there will always be issues here and there; that's not a reason to shrug one's shoulders and move on.