[ kohld ]
See synonyms for: coldcoldestcoldishcoldly 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.

  1. having a temperature lower than the normal temperature of the human body: cold hands.

  2. lacking in passion, emotion, enthusiasm, ardor, etc.; dispassionate: cold reason.

  3. not affectionate, cordial, or friendly; unresponsive: a cold reply; a cold reception.

  4. lacking sensual desire: She remained cold to his advances.

  5. failing to excite feeling or interest: the cold precision of his prose.

  6. unexcitable; imperturbable: cold impassivity.

  7. depressing; dispiriting: the cold atmosphere of a hospital waiting room.

  8. unconscious because of a severe blow, shock, etc.: I knocked him cold with an uppercut.

  9. lacking the warmth of life; lifeless: When the doctor arrived, the body was already cold.

  10. faint; weak: The dogs lost the cold scent.

  11. (in games) distant from the object of search or the correct answer.

  12. Slang. (in sports and games) not scoring or winning; ineffective: Cold shooting and poor rebounding were their undoing.

  13. Art.

    • having cool colors, especially muted tones tending toward grayish blue.

    • being a cool color.

  14. slow to absorb heat, as a soil containing a large amount of clay and hence retentive of moisture.

  15. 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.

  1. cold weather: He can't take the cold.

  2. 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.

  1. in an abrupt, unceremonious manner: He quit the job cold.

  2. 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.

Idioms about 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.

  1. in cold blood. blood (def. 20).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

First recorded 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

synonym study For cold

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.

Other words for cold

Opposites for cold

Other words from cold

  • coldish, adjective
  • coldly, adverb
  • coldness, noun
  • o·ver·cold, adjective
  • o·ver·cold·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use cold in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cold


/ (kəʊld) /

  1. having relatively little warmth; of a rather low temperature: cold weather; cold hands

  2. without sufficient or proper warmth: this meal is cold

  1. lacking in affection, enthusiasm, or warmth of feeling: a cold manner

  2. not affected by emotion; objective: cold logic

  3. dead

  4. sexually unresponsive or frigid

  5. lacking in freshness: a cold scent; cold news

  6. chilling to the spirit; depressing

  7. (of a colour) having violet, blue, or green predominating; giving no sensation of warmth

  8. 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

  9. (of a process) not involving heat, in contrast with traditional methods: cold typesetting; cold technology

  10. informal (of a seeker) far from the object of a search

  11. denoting the contacting of potential customers, voters, etc, without previously approaching them in order to establish their interest: cold mailing

  12. cold comfort little or no comfort

  13. cold steel the use of bayonets, knives, etc, in combat

  14. from cold without advance notice; without giving preparatory information

  15. in cold blood showing no passion; deliberately; ruthlessly

  16. leave someone cold informal to fail to excite someone: the performance left me cold

  17. 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 force: the cold took away our breath

  2. the sensation caused by loss or lack of heat

  1. in the cold or out in the cold informal neglected; ignored

  2. an acute viral infection of the upper respiratory passages characterized by discharge of watery mucus from the nose, sneezing, etc

  3. catch a cold slang to make a loss; lose one's investment

  1. informal without preparation: he played his part cold

  2. informal, mainly US and Canadian thoroughly; absolutely: she turned him down cold

Origin of cold

Old English ceald; related to Old Norse kaldr, Gothic kalds, Old High German kalt; see cool

Derived forms of cold

  • coldish, adjective
  • coldly, adverb
  • coldness, 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

Other 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.