shrug(redirected from shrugging)
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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.
shrug (someone or something) off
1. To dismiss, ignore, or minimize the importance of someone or something. 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. 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.
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.
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]
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.
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.