cold shower


A surprisingly chilly reception, reaction, or response, as in The small voter turnout was a cold shower to the League of Women Voters. The allusion in this term is to the unexpected and not always pleasant effect of an ice-cold shower. [Second half of 1900s]

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