adjective, cold·er, cold·est.



Nearby words

  1. colchester,
  2. colchicine,
  3. colchicum,
  4. colchis,
  5. colcothar,
  6. cold abscess,
  7. cold agglutination,
  8. cold agglutinin,
  9. cold brew,
  10. cold call


Origin of cold

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

Related forms

Synonym study

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cold

British Dictionary definitions for cold



having relatively little warmth; of a rather low temperaturecold weather; cold hands
without sufficient or proper warmththis meal is cold
lacking in affection, enthusiasm, or warmth of feelinga cold manner
not affected by emotion; objectivecold logic
sexually unresponsive or frigid
lacking in freshnessa cold scent; cold news
chilling to the spirit; depressing
(of a colour) having violet, blue, or green predominating; giving no sensation of warmth
metallurgy denoting or relating to a process in which work-hardening occurs as a result of the plastic deformation of a metal at too low a temperature for annealing to take place
(of a process) not involving heat, in contrast with traditional methodscold typesetting; cold technology
informal (of a seeker) far from the object of a search
denoting the contacting of potential customers, voters, etc, without previously approaching them in order to establish their interestcold mailing
cold comfort little or no comfort
cold steel the use of bayonets, knives, etc, in combat
from cold without advance notice; without giving preparatory information
in cold blood showing no passion; deliberately; ruthlessly
leave someone cold informal to fail to excite someonethe performance left me cold
throw cold water on or pour cold water on informal to be unenthusiastic about or discourage


the absence of heat regarded as a positive forcethe cold took away our breath
the sensation caused by loss or lack of heat
in the cold or out in the cold informal neglected; ignored
an acute viral infection of the upper respiratory passages characterized by discharge of watery mucus from the nose, sneezing, etc
catch a cold slang to make a loss; lose one's investment


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

Word Origin and History for cold
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for cold




A viral infection characterized by inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the upper respiratory passages and usually accompanied by malaise, fever, chills, coughing, and sneezing.coryza acute rhinitis common cold coryza

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with cold


In addition to the idioms beginning with cold

  • cold cash
  • cold comfort
  • cold feet, get
  • cold fish
  • cold hands, warm heart
  • cold shoulder
  • cold shower
  • cold snap
  • cold storage
  • cold sweat
  • cold turkey

also see:

  • blow hot and cold
  • catch cold
  • come in from the cold
  • in a cold sweat
  • in cold blood
  • in cold storage
  • in the cold light of day
  • knock out (cold)
  • leave one cold
  • make one's blood run cold
  • out cold
  • out in the cold
  • pour cold water on
  • stone cold
  • stop cold
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.