Cold Shoulder

Meanings of “Cold Shoulder”

The phrase “cold shoulder” means to demonstrate disinterestedness or indifference to the people with the intention to upset somebody, or showing that are ignoring that person to insult them or hurt them.

Origin of “Cold Shoulder”

The phrase “cold shoulder” seems to have originated from The Antiquity, a book by Sir Walter Scott which hit the shelves in 1816. The phrase goes thus: “The Countess’s dislike didna gang farther at first than just showing o’ the cauld shouther.”

Shortly later, it appeared in another work of Scott, St. Ronan’s Well, in which it appeared in its standardized form such as “I must tip him the cold shoulder.” Since then, it has appeared in the same spellings.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

The Cold Shoulder by Alfred Ramos

“The cold wind whispers in my ear
A melancholy tune I don’t want to hear
And I don’t have the strength to make it disappear
The cold rain is drowning me in all my sorrow
Don’t know why it couldn’t wait until tomorrow
When I could go looking for some courage to borrow
Why am I not surprise that you are a part of this
Turning my content world into eternal bliss
A show I definitely want to miss
If there is no joy in Mudville.”

These lines describe the winter in his hometown of Mudville. He compares the weather with his state of mind and says that he is so cold-hearted. He wants to miss this beautiful cold morning and weather. In other words, he means that he has several other things to do with this weather. Therefore, he is actually giving cold shoulder to it. The phrase has been used as an extended metaphor in the poet’s personal narrative.

Example #2

Cold Shoulder by John Sensele

Cold shoulder
Inconvenient like a boulder
Growing your world colder

In the morning, in the afternoon
When you act like a goon
Believing prospects perambulate in your cocoon

The deeper you plunge into fantasy
Expecting specks of ecstacy
Only reaping and whipping foul fallacy

Every which way you turn
The more bridges you burn
The less happiness you earn

In the long run, megalomania hurts
The more nonsense your brain blurts
To your ego, your alter ego the more faith you invest in flirts.

The poet gives the implicit definition of the phrase and has listed the ensuing complications that such an attitude creates. He goes on to say that whenever the attitude of cold-shouldering gets hold of a person, it becomes an obstacle for the person to happiness, including causing some other psychological issues such as tyranny or reversal of alter ego or ego. The phrase is given in the first line as well as the title of the poem, emitting various shades of meanings.

Example #3

Cold Shoulder by David Manglass

Poetry and I
are not speaking.
We had a falling out.
She insists it was a
falling in, but isn’t
that just like poetry?

Here the poetry is personified to show its cold shoulder attitude to him, or maybe his attitude to poetry. He states that, though, both are not talking to each other/ However, it is only the poetry that insisted that their relationship is falling out, and the poet stays constant. The phrase, therefore, shows the poet’s cold shoulder to poetry. Though the phrase shows its literal meanings, it has also highlighted the use of personification in the first line of the poem.

Example #4

The Man Behind the Badge by Sharon Archer
‘Then why have you been given me the cold shoulder?’
‘Trying to give you the cold shoulder,’ she corrected, with a rueful smile. ‘I’ve been spectacularly unsuccessful.’
His lips twitched but other than that she could see he was waiting for an answer. She sighed. She’d give him one, but it wasn’t a good one.

This excerpt is about a city girl, Kayla Morgan, who is now engaged in hooking, Tom Jamieson. This conversation sheds light on her failure of ignoring handsome Tom, who argues with her about her cold behavior, saying that she is cold-shouldering him, but she says that she has not been successful.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Johnny is notorious for his cold-shouldering to his friends; especially in their hour of need.”

Example #2: “Harry wasn’t showing any cold shoulder to his father. He was just scared that he couldn’t live up to his father’s expectations.

Example #3: “Melanie wanted to teach a lesson to her brother for breaking her doll. So, she decided to give him a cold shoulder for the rest of the week and ignore everything he says.”

Example #4: “It’s not fair to give someone a cold shoulder who is struggling to make their ends meet. Be kind and offer them a helping hand.”

Example #5: “Most of the smokers do not find them accommodating; hence, the visitors always show them the cold shoulder.”