[ kohld ]
/ koʊld /
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See synonyms for: cold / coldest / coldish / coldly on Thesaurus.com

adjective, cold·er, cold·est.


Favorite Ways To Say "I'm Cold" All Winter Long

No matter how you say it, it’s going to be pretty cold this winter, so make sure you bundle up ... and if you get tired of complaining about the cold, we've got some synonyms for ya!

Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
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In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…

Idioms about cold

Origin of cold

First recorded before 950; Middle English; Old English cald, ceald; cognate with Gothic kalds, Old Norse kaldr, German kalt, Dutch koud; akin to Latin gel- in gelidus gelid

synonym study for cold

1. Cold, chill, chilly, cool refer to various degrees of absence of heat. Cold refers to temperature possibly so low as to cause suffering: cold water. Chill suggests a penetrating cold which causes shivering and numbness: There was a chill wind blowing. Chilly is a weaker word, though it also connotes shivering and discomfort: a chilly room. Cool means merely somewhat cold, not warm: cool and comfortable. All have figurative uses.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of cold?

Cold is an adjective that describes something that lacks heat or has a low temperature. Cold also describes someone as being unemotional or detached. As a noun, cold often refers to a respiratory illness that involves sneezing and congestion. The word cold has many other senses as an adjective, noun, and adverb.

If something is cold, it lacks heat or has a low temperature. For example, cold water would have a temperature that approaches 0 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit. A cold steak is one that hasn’t been cooked (heated) or one that has just emerged from a freezer. Cold is the opposite of hot.

In a related sense, the word cold is used to describe the feeling you have when you lack heat or are exposed to freezing conditions that remove heat from you. This feeling often involves involuntary behavior such as shivering, getting goosebumps, teeth chattering, or skin turning blue.

  • Real-life examples: Ice cubes, snow, and the North Pole are examples of things that are cold. Sticking your hand into a bucket of ice water will make you feel really cold. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter months of December, January, and February are when the weather and air get really cold.
  • Used in a sentence:
    • I put on a jacket and gloves because it was really cold outside.
    • He turned up the thermostat after his mother said she was cold. 

Related to this sense, cold can mean a lack of heat or cold weather (usually in the form of “the cold”).

  • Used in a sentence: I couldn’t handle the extreme cold of the lake.

The word cold can also describe someone as being aloof, unemotional, or unwelcoming. This sense of cold is often used negatively to accuse a person of being cruel, uncaring, merciless, or lacking empathy.

  • Used in a sentence: He was a cold man who rarely ever smiled. 

As a noun, cold is frequently used to mean a respiratory illness that involves sneezing and congestion, often referred to as “a common cold.” When used in this sense, a person is said to have “a cold” rather than “the cold.” Colds are rarely serious. They usually involve several days of congestion in your nose or lungs, a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, or similar, minor respiratory problems.

  • Used in a sentence: Jade was sneezing all day at work today because she had a cold.

Where does cold come from?

The first records of cold come from before the 950s. It ultimately comes from the Old English ceald and is related to the Old Norse kaldr, the Gothic kalds, and the Old High German kalt.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to cold?

  • coldish (adjective)
  • coldly (adverb)
  • coldness (noun)
  • overcold (adjective)
  • overcoldly (adverb)

What are some synonyms for cold?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cold

What are some words that often get used in discussing cold?

How is cold used in real life?

Cold is a very common word that most often describes something as lacking heat.



Try using cold!

Which of the following items is most likely to be described as being cold?

A. an ice cube
B. the Sun
C. fire
D. an erupting volcano

How to use cold in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cold

/ (kəʊld) /

informal without preparationhe played his part cold
informal, mainly US and Canadian thoroughly; absolutelyshe turned him down cold

Derived forms of cold

coldish, adjectivecoldly, adverbcoldness, noun

Word Origin for cold

Old English ceald; related to Old Norse kaldr, Gothic kalds, Old High German kalt; see cool
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with cold


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.