give someone the cold shoulder



First recorded use of the expression was in 1816 by Sir Walter Scott in Scots (“The Countess’s dislike didna gang farther at first than just showing o’ the cauld shouther”.) This expression and its German equivalent are mistranslations of dederunt umerum recedentem from the Book of Nehemiah 9.29 from the Vulgate Bible, which actually means "stubbornly they turned their backs on you", which comes from the Septuagint Bible's equivalent ἔδωκαν (édōkan) νῶτον ἀπειθοῦντα. Latin umerus means both "shoulder" and "back".


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give someone the cold shoulder

  1. (idiomatic) To snub, resist or reject somebody; to regard somebody distantly.
    I must have made him angry with my comment. He’s been giving me the cold shoulder ever since I said it.