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[shruhg] /ʃrʌg/
verb (used with object), shrugged, shrugging.
to raise and contract (the shoulders), expressing indifference, disdain, etc.
verb (used without object), shrugged, shrugging.
to raise and contract the shoulders.
the movement of raising and contracting the shoulders.
a short sweater or jacket that ends above or at the waistline.
Verb phrases
shrug off,
  1. to disregard; minimize:
    to shrug off an insult.
  2. to rid oneself of:
    to shrug off the effects of a drug.
Origin of shrug
late Middle English
1350-1400; (v.) Middle English schruggen to shudder, shrug < ?; (noun) late Middle English shrugge a tug, pull, derivative of the v.
Related forms
unshrugging, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shrug
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He returned with a shrug of the shoulders to his table in the morning-room.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • The shoulders of Mr Verloc, without actually moving, suggested a shrug.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • "They are paying themselves for the mules and horses," said Fray Henriques with a shrug.

    Fair Margaret H. Rider Haggard
  • "That you will find out," she said, with a shrug of her shoulders.

    Fair Margaret H. Rider Haggard
  • A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders with good reason.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
British Dictionary definitions for shrug


verb shrugs, shrugging, shrugged
to draw up and drop (the shoulders) abruptly in a gesture expressing indifference, contempt, ignorance, etc
the gesture so made
a woman's short jacket or close-fitting cardigan
Word Origin
C14: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shrug

c.1400, schurgyng, of uncertain origin. Perhaps connected to Danish skrugge "to stoop, crouch." Related: Shrugged; shrugging. To shrug (something) off "dismiss" is recorded from 1909.


a shoulder motion meant to express indifference, want of an answer, etc., 1590s, from shrug (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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