See more synonyms for cold on
adjective, cold·er, cold·est.
  1. having a relatively low temperature; having little or no warmth: cold water; a cold day.
  2. feeling an uncomfortable lack of warmth; chilled: The skaters were cold.
  3. having a temperature lower than the normal temperature of the human body: cold hands.
  4. lacking in passion, emotion, enthusiasm, ardor, etc.; dispassionate: cold reason.
  5. not affectionate, cordial, or friendly; unresponsive: a cold reply; a cold reception.
  6. lacking sensual desire: She remained cold to his advances.
  7. failing to excite feeling or interest: the cold precision of his prose.
  8. unexcitable; imperturbable: cold impassivity.
  9. depressing; dispiriting: the cold atmosphere of a hospital waiting room.
  10. unconscious because of a severe blow, shock, etc.: I knocked him cold with an uppercut.
  11. lacking the warmth of life; lifeless: When the doctor arrived, the body was already cold.
  12. faint; weak: The dogs lost the cold scent.
  13. (in games) distant from the object of search or the correct answer.
  14. Slang. (in sports and games) not scoring or winning; ineffective: Cold shooting and poor rebounding were their undoing.
  15. Art.
    1. having cool colors, especially muted tones tending toward grayish blue.
    2. being a cool color.
  16. slow to absorb heat, as a soil containing a large amount of clay and hence retentive of moisture.
  17. Metalworking. noting or pertaining to any process involving plastic deformation of a metal at a temperature below that at which recrystallization can occur because of the strain: cold working.
  1. the relative absence of heat: Everyone suffered from the intense cold.
  2. the sensation produced by loss of heat from the body, as by contact with anything having a lower temperature than that of the body: He felt the cold of the steel door against his cheek.
  3. cold weather: He can't take the cold.
  4. Also called common cold. a respiratory disorder characterized by sneezing, sore throat, coughing, etc., caused by an allergic reaction or by a viral, bacterial, or mixed infection.
  1. with complete competence, thoroughness, or certainty; absolutely: He learned his speech cold.
  2. without preparation or prior notice: She had to play the lead role cold.
  3. in an abrupt, unceremonious manner: He quit the job cold.
  4. Metalworking. at a temperature below that at which recrystallization can occur (sometimes used in combination): to cold-hammer an iron bar; The wire was drawn cold.
  1. catch/take cold, to get or suffer from a cold: We all caught cold during that dreadful winter.
  2. go cold, Slang. (in sports and games) to become unproductive or ineffective; be unable to score.
  3. in cold blood. blood(def 20).
  4. in from the cold, out of a position or condition of exile, concealment, isolation, or alienation: Since the new government promised amnesty, fugitive rebels are coming in from the cold.
  5. left out in the cold, neglected; ignored; forgotten: After the baby came, the young husband felt left out in the cold.Also out in the cold.
  6. throw cold water on, to disparage; disapprove of; dampen the enthusiasm of: They threw cold water on her hopes to take acting classes.

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 formscold·ish, adjectivecold·ly, adverbcold·ness, nouno·ver·cold, adjectiveo·ver·cold·ly, adverb

Synonyms for cold

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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.

Antonyms for cold

1. hot. 4. warm, emotional. 13. warm. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cold

Contemporary Examples of cold

Historical Examples of cold

  • You can't get them too cold for Perce at breakfast, nowadays.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • When he awoke the cold light of the morning was stealing in.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • It had grown much too cold to do without some sort of artificial covering.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Hunger and cold seemed to have driven them from their former homes.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Whole tribes and clans were wiped out by hunger and cold and want.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

British Dictionary definitions for cold


  1. having relatively little warmth; of a rather low temperaturecold weather; cold hands
  2. without sufficient or proper warmththis meal is cold
  3. lacking in affection, enthusiasm, or warmth of feelinga cold manner
  4. not affected by emotion; objectivecold logic
  5. dead
  6. sexually unresponsive or frigid
  7. lacking in freshnessa cold scent; cold news
  8. chilling to the spirit; depressing
  9. (of a colour) having violet, blue, or green predominating; giving no sensation of warmth
  10. 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
  11. (of a process) not involving heat, in contrast with traditional methodscold typesetting; cold technology
  12. informal (of a seeker) far from the object of a search
  13. denoting the contacting of potential customers, voters, etc, without previously approaching them in order to establish their interestcold mailing
  14. cold comfort little or no comfort
  15. cold steel the use of bayonets, knives, etc, in combat
  16. from cold without advance notice; without giving preparatory information
  17. in cold blood showing no passion; deliberately; ruthlessly
  18. leave someone cold informal to fail to excite someonethe performance left me cold
  19. throw cold water on or pour cold water on informal to be unenthusiastic about or discourage
  1. the absence of heat regarded as a positive forcethe cold took away our breath
  2. the sensation caused by loss or lack of heat
  3. in the cold or out in the cold informal neglected; ignored
  4. an acute viral infection of the upper respiratory passages characterized by discharge of watery mucus from the nose, sneezing, etc
  5. catch a cold slang to make a loss; lose one's investment
  1. informal without preparationhe played his part cold
  2. 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

Old English cald (Anglian), ceald (West Saxon) "cold, cool" (adj.), "coldness," from Proto-Germanic *kaldaz (cf. Old Frisian and Old Saxon kald, Old High German and German kalt, Old Norse kaldr, Gothic kalds "cold"), possibly a past participle adjective of *kal-/*kol-, from PIE root *gel-/*gol- "cold" (cf. Latin gelare "to freeze," gelu "frost," glacies "ice").

Meaning "not strong" (in reference to scent) is 1590s, from hunting. Cold front in weather is from 1921. Cold-call in the sales pitch sense first recorded 1972. Japanese has two words for "cold:" samui for coldness in the atmosphere or environment; tsumetai for things which are cold to touch, and also in the figurative sense, with reference to personalities, behaviors, etc.


c.1300, "coldness," from cold (adj.). Sense in common cold is 1530s, from symptoms resembling those of exposure to cold; cf. earlier senses "indisposition caused by exposure to cold" (early 14c.); "discomfort caused by cold" (c.1300).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cold in Medicine


  1. 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.