Definition of shrug in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /SHrəɡ/

verb (shrugs, shrugging, shrugged)

[with object]
1Raise (one’s shoulders) slightly and momentarily to express doubt, ignorance, or indifference: Jimmy looked inquiringly at Pete, who shrugged his shoulders [no object]: he just shrugged and didn’t look interested
More example sentences
  • It is such a pity that their time and our taxes are being wasted on something which has the majority of our citizens shrugging their shoulder.
  • At the end they didn't actually leave the stage but just stumbled around shrugging their shoulders looking lost.
  • Instead of shrugging his shoulders, he became agitated and a sarcastic torrent of words flew out.
1.1 (shrug something off) Dismiss something as unimportant: the managing director shrugged off the criticism
More example sentences
  • The fact that he wasn't shying away from the fact that I wasn't human, and was simply shrugging it off as unimportant gave me some strength.
  • He shrugged them off, dismissing them as his mind playing tricks in a strange place.
  • She stared at him, confused by the cold dismissal, but shrugged it off.
disregard, dismiss, take no notice of, ignore, pay no heed to, play down, make light of


1An act or instance of shrugging one’s shoulders: she gave him a dismissive shrug
More example sentences
  • What was anticipated as a big fat Greek embrace turned instead into a casual shrug of the shoulders.
  • Any restaurant that gets a shrug of the shoulders and a hand waving in the manner of an umpire should consider it a moral victory.
  • There is no outrage, just a shrug of the shoulders.
2A woman’s close-fitting cardigan or jacket, cut short at the front and back so that only the arms and shoulders are covered.
Example sentences
  • Also key is quirky detail: a velvet ribbon tied at the waist of a jacket; a fur shrug worn over a sloppy knit; a brooch or a corsage fastening a cardigan.
  • Real or faux fur, shrugs, stoles or capelets are also great alternatives.
  • Also a light brown camisole tank top, and a short white sweater shrug that had a chocolate brown colored tie in the front.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'fidget'): of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with shrug

bug, chug, Doug, drug, dug, fug, glug, hug, jug, lug, mug, plug, pug, rug, slug, smug, snug, thug, trug, tug

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: shrug

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.