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.
without emotion or feeling; dispassionate; cruel: a cold-blooded murder.
sensitive to cold.

Origin of cold-blooded

First recorded in 1585–95
Related formscold-blood·ed·ly, adverbcold-blood·ed·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cold-blooded

Contemporary Examples of cold-blooded

Historical Examples of cold-blooded

  • 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



having or showing a lack of feeling or pitya cold-blooded killing
informal particularly sensitive to cold
(of all animals except birds and mammals) having a body temperature that varies with that of the surroundingsTechnical term: poikilothermic
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cold-blooded in Medicine



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

cold-blooded in Science



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