- the part of each side of the body in humans, at the top of the trunk, extending from each side of the base of the neck to the region where the arm articulates with the trunk.
- Usually shoulders. these two parts together with the part of the back joining them.
- a corresponding part in animals.
- the upper foreleg and adjoining parts of a sheep, goat, etc.
- the joint connecting the arm or the foreleg with the trunk.
- a shoulderlike part or projection.
- Ornithology. the bend of a bird’s wing, between the hand and the forearm, especially when distinctively colored, as in the red-shouldered hawk, Buteo lineatus.
- a cut of meat that includes the upper joint of the foreleg.
- Often shoulders. Informal. capacity for bearing responsibility or blame or sympathizing with other people: If you want to tell me your troubles, I have broad shoulders.
- a steplike change in the contour of an object, as for opposing or limiting motion along it or for an abutment.
- the end surface or surfaces of a piece from which a tenon or tenons project.
- an inclined and raised surface, as on a joggle post, for receiving and supporting the foot of a strut or the like.
- Fortification. the angle of a bastion between the face and the flank.
- Printing. the flat surface on a type body extending beyond the base of the letter or character.
- the part of a garment that covers, or fits over, the shoulder.
- (in leather manufacturing) that part of the hide anterior to the butt.
- either of the two edges or borders along a road, especially that portion on which vehicles can be parked in emergencies.Compare soft shoulder.
- shoulder season.
- Furniture. knee(def 6).
verb (used with object)
- to push with or as if with the shoulder, especially roughly: to shoulder someone aside.
- to take upon, support, or carry on or as if on the shoulder or shoulders: He shouldered his knapsack and walked on.
- to assume as a responsibility: to shoulder the expense.
verb (used without object)
- to push with or as if with the shoulder: to shoulder through a crowd.
- cry on someone’s shoulder, to reveal one’s problems to another person in order to obtain sympathy: Don’t cry on my shoulder—this mess is your own fault.
- put one’s shoulder to the wheel, to work energetically toward a goal; put forth effort: If we put our shoulders to the wheel, we’ll be able to finish the job soon.
- rub shoulders with, to come into association with; mingle with: As a social worker in one of the worst slum areas, she rubs shoulders with the poor and the helpless.
- shoulder arms, Military.
- to place a rifle muzzle upward on the right or left shoulder, with the buttstock in the corresponding hand.
- the command to shoulder arms.
- shoulder to shoulder, side by side; with united effort: The volunteers worked shoulder to shoulder with the natives in harvesting the crops.
- straight from the shoulder, without evasion; directly; candidly: The lawyer told him straight from the shoulder that his case was weak.
- the part of the vertebrate body where the arm or a corresponding forelimb joins the trunk: the pectoral girdle and associated structures
- the joint at the junction of the forelimb with the pectoral girdle
- a cut of meat including the upper part of the foreleg
- printing the flat surface of a piece of type from which the face rises
- tanning the portion of a hide covering the shoulders and neck of the animal, usually including the cheeks
- the part of a garment that covers the shoulder
- anything that resembles a shoulder in shape or position
- the strip of unpaved land that borders a road
- engineering a substantial projection or abrupt change in shape or diameter designed to withstand thrust
- photog the portion of the characteristic curve of a photographic material indicating the maximum density that can be produced on the material
- jewellery the part of a ring where the shank joins the setting
- a shoulder to cry on a person one turns to for sympathy with one’s troubles
- give someone the cold shoulder informal
- to treat someone in a cold manner; snub
- to ignore or shun someone
- put one’s shoulder to the wheel informal to work very hard
- rub shoulders with See rub (def. 11)
- shoulder to shoulder
- side by side or close together
- in a corporate effort
- (tr) to bear or carry (a burden, responsibility, etc) as if on one’s shoulders
- to push (something) with or as if with the shoulder
- (tr) to lift or carry on the shoulders
- shoulder arms military to bring the rifle vertically close to the right side with the muzzle uppermost and held at the trigger guard
Old English sculdor “shoulder,” from West Germanic *skuldro (cf. Middle Dutch scouder, Dutch schouder, Old Frisian skoldere, Middle Low German scholder, Old High German scultra, German Schulter), of unknown origin, perhaps related to shield (n.). Meaning “edge of the road” is attested from 1933. Cold shoulder (Neh. ix:29) translates Latin humerum recedentum dare in Vulgate (but see cold shoulder). Shoulder-length, of hair, is from 1951.
c.1300, “to push with the shoulder,” from shoulder (n.). Meaning “take a burden” first recorded 1580s. The military sense is from 1590s. Related: Shouldered; shouldering.
- The joint connecting the arm with the torso.
- The part of the human body between the neck and upper arm.
In close proximity or cooperation, as in The volunteers worked shoulder to shoulder in the effort to rescue the miners. This expression originated in the late 1500s in the military, at first signifying troops in close formation. Its figurative use dates from the late 1800s.
In addition to the idiom beginning with shoulder
- shoulder to shoulder
- broad shoulders
- chip on one’s shoulder
- cold shoulder
- cry on someone’s shoulder
- good head on one’s shoulders
- head and shoulders above
- on one’s shoulders
- put one’s shoulder to the wheel
- rub elbows (shoulders) with
- shrug one’s shoulders
- square one’s shoulders
- straight from the shoulder
- weight of the world on one’s shoulders