Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English cold, from Old English, specifically Anglian cald. The West Saxon form, ċeald (cold), survived as early Middle English cheald, cheld, or chald.[1] Both descended from Proto-West Germanic *kald, from Proto-Germanic *kaldaz, a participle form of *kalaną (to be cold), from Proto-Indo-European *gel- (cold).


cold (comparative colder, superlative coldest)

  1. (of a thing) Having a low temperature.
    A cold wind whistled through the trees.
  2. (of the weather) Causing the air to be cold.
    The forecast is that it will be very cold today.
  3. (of a person or animal) Feeling the sensation of coldness, especially to the point of discomfort.
    She was so cold she was shivering.
  4. Unfriendly; emotionally distant or unfeeling.
    She shot me a cold glance before turning her back.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter VII, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, →OCLC:
      "Suppose someone pops in?" "Don't be silly. Mrs Cream is working on her book. Phyllis is in her room, typing Upjohn's speech. Wilbert's gone for a walk. Upjohn isn't here. The only character who could pop in would be the Brinkley Court ghost. If it does, give it a cold look and walk through it. That'll teach it not to come butting in where it isn't wanted, ha ha."
    • 2011 April 23, The Impossible Astronaut (Doctor Who), season series 6, episode 1:
      River Song: (upon seeing the still-living Doctor, moments after he made her and two other friends watch what they thought was his death) This is cold. Even by your standards, this is cold.
    • 2015, Jocelyn Samara D., Rain, volume 3, page 237:
      "At the risk of sounding cold though, I'm glad he's gone. His abandonment left me in Aunt Fara's custody, and that's honestly the best thing he's ever done for me."
  5. Dispassionate; not prejudiced or partisan; impartial.
    Let's look at this tomorrow with a cold head.
    He's a nice guy, but the cold facts say we should fire him.
    The cold truth is that states rarely undertake military action unless their national interests are at stake.
  6. Completely unprepared; without introduction.
    He was assigned cold calls for the first three months.
    • 2019, Kelly D. Harrison, Air Force Cop: An Autobiography (page 100)
      The one thing considered the brass ring in selling insurance was making a sale on a cold canvass. Cold canvassing was the most dreaded exercise for most insurance salesmen.
  7. Unconscious or deeply asleep; deprived of the metaphorical heat associated with life or consciousness.
    I knocked him out cold.
    After one more beer he passed out cold.
  8. (usually with "have" or "know" transitively) Perfectly, exactly, completely; by heart; down pat.
    Practice your music scales until you know them cold.
    Try both these maneuvers until you have them cold and can do them in the dark without thinking.
    Rehearse your lines until you have them down cold.
    Keep that list in front of you, or memorize it cold.
  9. (usually with "have" transitively) Cornered; done for.
    With that receipt, we have them cold for fraud.
    Criminal interrogation. Initially they will dream up explanations faster than you could ever do so, but when they become fatigued, often they will acknowledge that you have them cold.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XIX, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, →OCLC:
      "Either Upjohn agrees to drop that libel suit or he doesn't get these notes, as he calls them, and without them he won't be able to utter a word. He'll have to come across with the price of the papers. Won't he, Jeeves?"
      "He would appear to have no alternative, miss."
      "Unless he wants to get up on that platform and stand there opening and shutting his mouth like a goldfish. We've got him cold."
  10. (obsolete) Not pungent or acrid.
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], →OCLC:
      cold plants
  11. (obsolete) Unexciting; dull; uninteresting.
    • 1641, Ben Jonson, Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter
      What a deal of cold business doth a man misspend the better part of life in!
    • 1705, J[oseph] Addison, Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, &c. in the Years 1701, 1702, 1703, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC:
      The jest grows cold [] when it comes on in a second scene.
  12. Affecting the sense of smell (as of hunting dogs) only feebly; having lost its odour.
    a cold scent
  13. (obsolete) Not sensitive; not acute.
  14. Distant; said, in the game of hunting for some object, of a seeker remote from the thing concealed. Compare warm and hot.
    You're cold … getting warmer … hot! You've found it!
  15. (painting) Having a bluish effect; not warm in colour.
  16. (databases) Rarely used or accessed, and thus able to be relegated to slower storage.
  17. (informal) Without compassion; heartless; ruthless.
    I can't believe she said that...that was cold!
  18. (informal) Not radioactive. [from the 20thc.]
    • 1953, Philip K. Dick, “Planet for Transients”, in Fantastic Universe magazine[1], number Oct-Nov 1953, page 64:
      "That's right," Jackson said. "The Old Man will be pleased to welcome you." There was eagerness in his reedy voice. "What do you say? We'll take care of you. Feed you, bring you cold plants and animals. For a week maybe?"
  19. (firearms) Not loaded with a round of live ammunition.
  20. Without electrical power being supplied.
    Synonym: dead
    • 1956, Philco Corporation, Handbook of Test Methods and Practices (page 3-3)
      Therefore, to avoid unnecessary delay in the trouble-shooting procedure, it is good practice to make a resistance check on a "cold" circuit (before applying power), to determine whether resistance values are normal.
Derived termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English cold, colde, from Old English cald, ċeald (cold, coldness), from Proto-West Germanic *kald, from Proto-Germanic *kaldą (coldness), from Proto-Indo-European *gel- (cold).


cold (plural colds)

  1. A condition of low temperature.
    Come in, out of the cold.
  2. (with 'the', figurative) A harsh place; a place of abandonment.
    The former politician was left out in the cold after his friends deserted him.
  3. (medicine) A common, usually harmless, viral illness, usually with congestion of the nasal passages and sometimes fever.
    I caught a miserable cold and had to stay home for a week
  4. (slang) rheum, sleepy dust
    • 1994, Notorious B.I.G., Warning
      Who the fuck is this, pagin' me at 5:46 in the morning? / crack of dawn and now I'm yawnin' / wipe the cold out my eye, see who's this pagin' me and why
    • 1996, Ghostface Killah, All That I Got Is You
      But I remember this, moms would lick her finger tips / to wipe the cold out my eye before school with her spit
Coordinate termsEdit
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 3Edit

From Middle English colde, from Old English calde, ċealde (coldly), from the adjective (see above).


cold (comparative more cold, superlative most cold)

  1. At a low temperature.
    The steel was processed cold.
  2. Without preparation.
    The speaker went in cold and floundered for a topic.
    • 2008, Geddeth Smith, Walter Hampden: Dean of the American Theatre (page 104)
      Two weeks after it closed, he started rehearsals for Cheer Up, a new play by Mary Roberts Rinehart booked into the Harris Theatre. It was to open cold without any out-of-town tryout under the direction of a young Cecil B. DeMille []
  3. (slang, informal, dated) In a cold, frank, or realistically honest manner.
    • 1986, Run-DMC, Peter Piper.
      Now Little Bo Peep cold lost her sheep / And Rip van Winkle fell the hell asleep

Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ cold”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.


Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Old English cald, an Anglian form of ċeald.



cold (plural and weak singular colde, comparative colder, superlative *coldest)

  1. (temperature) cold, cool
  2. (weather) cold, cool
  3. (locations) having a tendency to be cold
  4. cold-feeling, cold when touched, cooled, chilly
  5. lifeless, having the pallor of death
  6. cold-hearted, indifferent, insensitive
  7. distressed, sorrowful, worried
  8. (alchemy, medicine) Considered to be alchemically cold


  • English: cold
  • Northumbrian: caad, cauld
  • Scots: cald, cauld
  • Yola: coale, khoal, cole




  1. cold, coldness
  2. The feeling of coldness or chill
  3. Lack of feelings or emotion
  4. (alchemy, medicine) Alchemical coldness