Definition of cold in English:

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Pronunciation: /kōld/


1Of or at a low or relatively low temperature, especially when compared with the human body: a freezing cold day it’s cold outside a sharp, cold wind
More example sentences
  • The water was warm, almost scalding compared to the cold shock of the temperature that one day.
  • Christmas eve, there is a cold wind, the temperatures in the desert dip below freezing.
  • The problem has been made worse by standing flood water, freezing temperatures and a cold wind.
chilly, chill, cool, freezing, icy, snowy, wintry, frosty, frigid, gelid;
bitter, biting, raw, bone-chilling, nippy, arctic
1.1(Of food or drink) served or consumed without being heated or after cooling: a cold drink serve hot or cold
More example sentences
  • Soft drinks and hot and cold food will also be available.
  • Cream teas, ice creams and cold drinks will be served throughout the afternoon.
  • Tea is almost always consumed hot, as people in Kazakhstan think that drinking cold beverages will make one sick.
1.2(Of a person) feeling uncomfortably cold: she was cold, and I put some more wood on the fire
More example sentences
  • When we are cold and uncomfortable, we tend to lose focus on the task at hand.
  • As the flights lasted up to eighteen hours disembarking passengers were invariably cold and uncomfortable.
  • Rising gas prices are going to mean hungry and cold people all winter long.
chilly, chilled, cool, freezing, frozen, shivery, numb, benumbed;
1.3Feeling or characterized by fear or horror: he suddenly went cold with a dreadful certainty a cold shiver of fear
More example sentences
  • Its presence set a shiver of apprehension down the warrior's spine, and cold fear bubbling in his stomach.
  • Dutifully, we step on the correct train and go home to the overdraft statement, or the divorce petition, or the cold fear that our kid may be a junkie.
  • I know that sense of dread that so many children will feel: that cold fear as Sunday draws to an end and Monday morning looms.
1.4 informal Unconscious: she was out cold
More example sentences
  • It seems that one time a golf ball struck by Mr Hastings landed straight on some unfortunate man's head, knocking him out cold for a few minutes.
  • Fortunately, Rooibush tea has an extreme effect on me, and can knock me out cold within 20 minutes.
  • It was enough to send us into happiness, and to knock Spurs out cold.
unconscious, knocked out, down/out for the count
informal KO'd, kayoed
1.5Dead: lying cold and stiff in a coffin
More example sentences
  • Neither of us said a word as we watched the bright flame devour the cold, stiff copse of our dead son.
2Lacking affection or warmth of feeling; unemotional: how cold and calculating he was cold black eyes cold politeness
More example sentences
  • Did you know that as well as being cold and unemotional, we are also polite, traditional and reserved?
  • Despite her terrible physical condition at the moment, the tone was so unemotionally cold.
  • While being a rather cold and calculating man on the whole, Maddock had a soft spot for children.
unfriendly, inhospitable, unwelcoming, forbidding, cool, frigid, frosty, glacial, lukewarm, indifferent, unfeeling, unemotional, formal, stiff
2.1Not affected by emotion; objective: cold statistics
More example sentences
  • Their victory had been a triumph of cold logic over raw emotion.
  • Spare a thought for the machinations of the global economy and the cold statistics we hear and read so much.
  • Statistics can be used to say anything, but always appear relentless and objective and cold.
2.2Sexually unresponsive; frigid.
Example sentences
  • Those with a flat, narrow mount of Venus girdled by the Life Line are cold and unresponsive.
  • Sexual or cold, scheming or honest, Huston seems as driven to triumph as Lily is.
2.3Depressing or dispiriting; not suggestive of warmth: the cold, impersonal barrack-room a cold light streamed through the window
More example sentences
  • I would much rather that than the cold impersonality we had going on right now.
  • London's image to many is cold, wealthy and impersonal, but its real history is of revolt and subversion.
  • Thus, when one side was bathed in light and warmth, the other would be a cold, dismal place shrouded in darkness.
2.4(Of a color) containing pale blue or gray.
Example sentences
  • Some people think blue is a cold colour, but it doesn't have to be.
  • As for the cold colour palette, a pink blouse matched with a grey knee-length skirt will show your authority.
  • Grey is the cold neutral colour; many languages identify it with blue or green.
2.5Ineffective in playing a game: Butler capitalized on Xavier’s cold shooting
More example sentences
  • The only warm-weather team left in the play-offs went cold in its biggest game of the year.
  • It has been a while, but there have been days when the top perimeter shooters have been cold.
  • The Clan were cold to begin the game and unable to hit their shots.
3(Of the scent or trail of a hunted person or animal) no longer fresh and easy to follow: the trail went cold
More example sentences
  • The trail has to be cold by now, too much time has gone by and we don't know if he's changed his look again.
  • However, following this early breakthrough the trail went cold.
  • Last night officers insisted the trail had not gone cold.
3.1(In children’s games) far from finding or guessing what is sought, as opposed to warm or nearing success.
4Without preparation or rehearsal; unawares: going into the test cold
More example sentences
  • When he's warmed up at the start of a game instead of coming in cold off the bench, he is in less danger of injury.
  • But it's still notable he was able to step in cold and run the offense so efficiently.
  • Manufacturers had difficulty ramping up to meet the Army's needs from a cold industrial base.


1A low temperature, especially in the atmosphere; cold weather; a cold environment: my teeth chattered with the cold they nearly died of cold
More example sentences
  • But now they could die of starvation or cold as temperatures drop to freezing at night.
  • The cold of the autumn rain made her very bones ache; worry for her brother grew into real fear.
  • Weather is usually seasonal varying from extreme cold to temperate.
2A common viral infection in which the mucous membrane of the nose and throat becomes inflamed, typically causing running at the nose, sneezing, a sore throat, and other similar symptoms.
Example sentences
  • Many everyday illnesses like colds and sore throats can be easily treated at home without visiting a doctor.
  • Most coughs and sore throats and all colds are viral infections.
  • Minor illnesses such as colds and flu were the most common cause of sickness absence but most employers said stress was on the increase.


North American informal
Completely; entirely: she knew world capitals cold by age nine
More example sentences
  • There are blog sites and there are blog sites, but for us it seems that the Blast stopped the Comments cold.
  • Trent stopped cold and very slowly turned around, his eyes throwing flames at David.
  • The mud gets so thick and sticky that the clumps in my V-brakes stop my wheels cold.



as cold as ice (or stone or the grave, etc.)

Very cold.
Example sentences
  • He could see why Sarah wouldn't like him; he was as cold as stone.
  • I glared up at his face, which was like usual, as cold as stone.
  • He was as cold as stone, no true emotion lay behind his eyes.

catch (or take) cold

Become infected with a cold.
Example sentences
  • Also, his lungs became infected every time he caught a cold.
  • If your child touches his or her mouth or nose after touching skin or some other surface that's been contaminated by one of the rhinoviruses that causes colds, your child may catch a cold.
  • I have no plans for Canada Day and I might not be doing absolutely anything, because I am feeling pretty ill right now, I think I caught a cold and my throat is swollen.

cold comfort

Pronunciation: /ˌkōld ˈkəmfərt/
Poor or inadequate consolation: another drop in the inflation rate was cold comfort for the 2.74 million jobless
More example sentences
  • Orwell's efforts brought him little but calumny in his lifetime; posthumous vindication, even on such a grand scale, seems rather cold comfort.
  • But that will be cold comfort to the millions of children who have been hit hard by these arbitrary policies, shamelessly justified in the name of school safety.
  • But that was cold comfort for the former Vermont governor, whose once promising campaign unravelled further when the head of a major union withdrew his support.

cold feet

Loss of nerve or confidence: some investors got cold feet and backed out
More example sentences
  • The Rochdale cabaret singer feared his Norwegian bride had got cold feet and decided to return to her homeland without him.
  • The central government has developed cold feet on the promised legislation to regulate fee and admissions in professional colleges.
  • Apparently, one - or possibly more - of the investors may have gotten cold feet.

the cold light of day

The objective realities of a situation: in the cold light of day it all seemed so ridiculous
More example sentences
  • You have got to sit down and look at things in the cold light of day and I know where the problems are and I know where we can put it right but it is not going to happen overnight.
  • We'll sit down in the cold light of day, understand the facts, discuss it with the player and decide what we want to do.
  • It's interesting how, after a couple of glasses of wine late on a Friday night, Lisa's quite happy to let me put a photo of her on my website. It's slightly less interesting how, in the cold light of day, she completely changes her mind.

the cold shoulder

A show of intentional unfriendliness; rejection: why is even his own family giving him the cold shoulder?
More example sentences
  • There are various music technology workshops run in and around the city by Future Prospects, but there is nowhere for these new skills to be used, so young people are given the cold shoulder.
  • After receiving the cold shoulder from the club, Scott has been forced to travel 25 miles on winter nights to attend the Edzell club, which welcomes female members.
  • So, after getting the cold shoulder from everyone this morning, for invading their space last night, I walked up to the cafe by myself.

cold-shoulder someone

Reject or be deliberately unfriendly to someone.
Example sentences
  • They won't cold-shoulder you like those who are still deluded enough to think they running the show.
  • The platoon cold-shoulder him, and when he makes them some tea and biscuits, none of them accept.
  • The main problem for Daihatsu - and other established micro-car-makers - is that Australians now tend to cold-shoulder them for more expensive brands offering a richer driving experience.

down cold

see down1.

in cold blood

Without feeling or mercy; ruthlessly: the government forces killed them in cold blood

out in the cold

Ignored; neglected: the talks left the French out in the cold
More example sentences
  • And on top of that, he steals all your friends and you're left out in the cold.
  • And we just can't get a hearing, we can't get recognition and we're still out in the cold.
  • Racing officials today assured York residents they would not be left out in the cold when tickets for Royal Ascot in the city finally go on sale.

throw (or pour) cold water on

Be discouraging or negative about.
Example sentences
  • These reports, in turn, threw cold water on what was otherwise a lovely day.
  • Instead, she threw cold water on all that Internet euphoria.
  • Ever since the trendy Lefties in our society managed to throw cold water on competitive sports as part of the curriculum, our children have lost out on weekly exercise in schools.



Pronunciation: /ˈkōldiSH/
Example sentences
  • It's a coldish morning, and there're no visitors allowed this morning due to the Amnesty International protestors causing a ruckus outside the fence.
  • It was a coldish night, but everywhere there was a pagan semi-nudity.


Old English cald, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch koud and German kalt, also to Latin gelu 'frost'.

  • Cold goes back to an ancient root that was shared by Latin gelu ‘frost’, the root of congeal (Late Middle English), jelly, and cool. It appears in many common expressions, a number of which refer to parts of the body. If someone gives you the cold shoulder they are deliberately unfriendly. It is unlikely to be from ‘a cold shoulder of mutton’, for an unappetizing meal served to an unwelcome guest as is often claimed, but rather from a dismissive gesture of the body, involving a jerk or shrug of the shoulder. Cold-hearted first appeared in Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra. The proverb cold hands, warm heart is much more recent: the earliest example is from the late 19th century.

    The origin of cold comfort, meaning ‘poor or inadequate consolation’, is the idea that charity is often given in a cold or uncaring way. To go cold turkey is suddenly to give up taking a drug that you are addicted to, which can be an unpleasant process involving bouts of shivering and sweating that cause goose pimples reminiscent of the flesh of a dead plucked turkey. The expression dates from the 1920s. The Cold War was the state of political hostility that existed between the Soviet countries and Western powers from 1945 to 1990 although the term has been recorded from the beginning of the Second World War.

Words that rhyme with cold

behold, bold, enfold, fold, foretold, gold, hold, mould (US mold), old, outsold, scold, self-controlled, sold, told, uncontrolled, undersold, unpolled, uphold, withhold, wold

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cold

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