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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 ?
According to Ed Teja, one of the authors, "The book (Atlas Shrugged) solved nothing, but provided insights into possibilities as well as an unfortunately prescient look at the future.
I said it could be for someone dying, that's why there in a rush and he shrugged his shoulders.
Fairground and circus fun for all YOUNG and old shrugged off the unseasonal wet weather to enjoy fun and games at the annual Berry Brow Carnival.
(1.) Emma Dumain, "Hoyer: 'Atlas Shrugged' No Way to Run a Country," Roll Call, September 29, 2014,
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the new trailer of 'Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?' features a shadowy figure revealing himself as the mysterious John Galt.
Screenplay, Brian Patrick O'Toole, Duke Sandefur, Duncan Scott, adapted from the novel "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.
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.
At the conclusion of Atlas Shrugged, Galt aims to restore the old system anew as the collectivist regime crumbles.
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.
I don't believe Daniel Hannan is an Objectivist ("Ayn Shrugged," Dec.
John Galt." Sales of Rand's classic Atlas Shrugged have soared in 2009, above a level that was already extremely impressive for a 1,000-page, critically unloved, 52-year-old novel.
Regardless of whether government interventions are stimulating the economy, they're stimulating attention to Ayn Rand's paean to unfettered capitalism, Atlas Shrugged (1957).
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt--currently the Earth's reigning couple that anyone of any sexual orientation wants to sleep with--have announced their interest in starring in a movie version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Jolie would play two-fisted railroad exec Dagny Taggart, while Pitt would take the role of John Galt, mysterious messiah of a dystopic world.
The London market maintained its new-found confidence today as the FTSE 100 Index shrugged off the impact of a disappointing session in New York.