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See more synonyms for cold-blooded on Thesaurus.com
  1. designating or pertaining to animals, as fishes and reptiles, whose blood temperature ranges from the freezing point upward, in accordance with the temperature of the surrounding medium; poikilothermic.
  2. without emotion or feeling; dispassionate; cruel: a cold-blooded murder.
  3. sensitive to cold.
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Origin of cold-blooded

First recorded in 1585–95
Related formscold-blood·ed·ly, adverbcold-blood·ed·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for cold-blooded

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He was cold-blooded and generally disliked by the men under him.

    The Fifth String  

    John Philip Sousa

  • I like him tremendously, in spite of his cold-blooded confession, and past record.

    The Long Voyage

    Carl Richard Jacobi

  • Her innocent little Vada in the arms of this cold-blooded assassin!

  • Nobody knows that but us three and that cold-blooded fish, Alston Choate.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • Is it the turf and its teachings to which this crafty and cold-blooded spirit is owing?

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

British Dictionary definitions for cold-blooded


  1. having or showing a lack of feeling or pitya cold-blooded killing
  2. informal particularly sensitive to cold
  3. (of all animals except birds and mammals) having a body temperature that varies with that of the surroundingsTechnical term: poikilothermic
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Derived Formscold-bloodedly, adverbcold-bloodedness, noun
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-blooded


also cold blooded; 1590s, of persons, "without emotion, unfeeling;" of actions, from 1828. The phrase refers to the old notion that blood temperature rose with excitement. In the literal sense, of reptiles, etc., from c.1600. From cold (adj.) + blood (n.). Related: Cold-bloodedly; cold-bloodedness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cold-blooded in Medicine


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

cold-blooded in Science


  1. Having a body temperature that changes according to the temperature of the surroundings. Fish, amphibians, and reptiles are cold-blooded.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.