[ shruhg ]
See synonyms for: shrugshruggedshrugging on

verb (used with object),shrugged, shrug·ging.
  1. to raise and contract (the shoulders), expressing indifference, disdain, etc.

verb (used without object),shrugged, shrug·ging.
  1. to raise and contract the shoulders.

  1. the movement of raising and contracting the shoulders.

  2. a short sweater or jacket that ends above or at the waistline.

Verb Phrases
  1. shrug off,

    • to disregard; minimize: to shrug off an insult.

    • to rid oneself of: to shrug off the effects of a drug.

Origin of shrug

1350–1400; (v.) Middle English schruggen to shudder, shrug < ?; (noun) late Middle English shrugge a tug, pull, derivative of the v.

Other words from shrug

  • un·shrug·ging, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use shrug in a sentence

  • You would have shrugged your shoulders and made the best of it, realizing that no other man had put this wrong upon you.

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • The Frenchman shrugged his shoulders as he stepped into his perfectly-appointed but funereal-looking little brougham.

  • The doctor, informed of her comparative happiness, again shrugged his shoulders.

  • "Works—mere works," and Miss Watling shrugged her shoulders emphatically.

    The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
  • Gwynne, angry and disappointed, looked after her a moment, then shrugged his shoulders and went in to his mail.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton

British Dictionary definitions for shrug


/ (ʃrʌɡ) /

verbshrugs, shrugging or shrugged
  1. to draw up and drop (the shoulders) abruptly in a gesture expressing indifference, contempt, ignorance, etc

  1. the gesture so made

  2. a woman's short jacket or close-fitting cardigan

Origin of shrug

C14: of uncertain origin

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