What does shoulder mean?

Definitions for shoulder
ˈʃoʊl dərshoul·der

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word shoulder.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. shouldernoun

    the part of the body between the neck and the upper arm

  2. shouldernoun

    a cut of meat including the upper joint of the foreleg

  3. shoulder, shoulder joint, articulatio humerinoun

    a ball-and-socket joint between the head of the humerus and a cavity of the scapula

  4. shouldernoun

    the part of a garment that covers or fits over the shoulder

    "an ornamental gold braid on the shoulder of his uniform"

  5. shoulder, bermverb

    a narrow edge of land (usually unpaved) along the side of a road

    "the car pulled off onto the shoulder"

  6. shoulderverb

    lift onto one's shoulders

  7. shoulderverb

    push with the shoulders

    "He shouldered his way into the crowd"

  8. shoulderverb

    carry a burden, either real or metaphoric

    "shoulder the burden"


  1. shouldernoun

    The joint between the arm and the torso, sometimes including the surrounding area.

    The parrot was sitting on Steve's shoulder.

  2. shouldernoun

    A part of a road where drivers may stop in an emergency; a hard shoulder.

    He stopped the car on the shoulder of the highway to change the flat tire.

  3. shouldernoun

    A cut of meat comprised of the upper joint of the foreleg and the surrounding muscle.

  4. shouldernoun

    The portion of a garment where the shoulder is clothed.

  5. shouldernoun

    The portion of a hill or mountain just below the peak.

  6. shouldernoun

    The lateral protrusion of a hill or mountain.

  7. shouldernoun

    (printing) The flat portion of type that is below the bevelled portion that joins up with the face.

  8. shouldernoun

    (music) The rounded portion of stringed instrument where the neck joins the body.

  9. shouldernoun

    The rounded portion of a bottle where the neck meets the body.

  10. shoulderverb

    To push (a person or thing) using one's shoulder.

  11. shoulderverb

    To carry (something) on one's shoulders.

  12. shoulderverb

    To accept responsibility for.

    shoulder the blame

  13. Etymology: From sholder, shulder, schulder, from sculdor, sculdra, from *, of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to skelduz, see shield. Cognate with skuldere, scholder, schouder, Schulter.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SHOULDERnoun

    Etymology: sculdre , Saxon; scholder, Dutch.

    I have seen better faces in my time,
    Than stand on any shoulder that I see
    Before me. William Shakespeare.

    If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate, then let mine arm fall from my shoulder-blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. Job xxxi. 22.

    It is a fine thing to be carried on mens shoulders; but give God thanks that thou art not forced to carry a rich fool upon thy shoulders, as those poor men do. Taylor.

    The head of the shoulder-bone being round, is inserted into so shallow a cavity in the scapula, that, were there no other guards for it, it would be thrust out upon every occasion. Wise.

    We must have a shoulder of mutton for a property. William Shakespeare.

    He took occasion, from a shoulder of mutton, to cry up the plenty of England. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

    Emily dress’d herself in rich array;
    Fresh as the month, and as the morning fair,
    Adown her shoulders fell her length of hair. Dryden.

    Ev’n as thou wilt, sweet Warwick, let it be;
    For on thy shoulders do I build my seat. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    The king has cur’d me; and from these shoulders.
    These ruin’d pillars, out of pity taken
    A load would sink a navy. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    When you rivet a pin into a hole, your pin must have a shoulder to it thicker than the hole is wide, that the shoulder slip not through the hole as well as the shank. Joseph Moxon.

  2. To Shoulderverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    The rolling billows beat the ragged shore,
    As they the earth would shoulder from her seat. Fairy Queen.

    Dudman, a well-known foreland to most sailors, here shoulders out the ocean, to shape the same a large bosom between itself. Richard Carew, Survey of Cornwal.

    You debase yourself,
    To think of mixing with th’ ignoble herd:
    What, shall the people know their god-like prince
    Headed a rabble, and profan’d his person,
    Shoulder’d with filth? Dryden.

    So vast the navy now at anchor rides,
    That underneath it the press’d waters fail,
    And, with its weight, it shoulders off the tides. Dryden.

    Around her numberless the rabble flow’d,
    Should’ring each other, crowding for a view. Nicholas Rowe, J. Shore.

    When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend
    The wretch, who living sav’d a candle’s end;
    Should’ring God’s altar a vile image stands,
    Belies his features, nay extends his hands. Alexander Pope.

    Archimedes’s lifting up Marcellus’s ships finds little more credit than that of the giants shouldering mountains. Joseph Glanvill.


  1. Shoulder

    The human shoulder is made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone) as well as associated muscles, ligaments and tendons. The articulations between the bones of the shoulder make up the shoulder joints. The shoulder joint, also known as the glenohumeral joint, is the major joint of the shoulder, but can more broadly include the acromioclavicular joint. In human anatomy, the shoulder joint comprises the part of the body where the humerus attaches to the scapula, and the head sits in the glenoid cavity. The shoulder is the group of structures in the region of the joint.The shoulder joint is the main joint of the shoulder. It is a ball and socket joint that allows the arm to rotate in a circular fashion or to hinge out and up away from the body. The joint capsule is a soft tissue envelope that encircles the glenohumeral joint and attaches to the scapula, humerus, and head of the biceps. It is lined by a thin, smooth synovial membrane. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint and contribute to the shoulder's stability. The muscles of the rotator cuff are supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor. The cuff adheres to the glenohumeral capsule and attaches to the humeral head. The shoulder must be mobile enough for the wide range actions of the arms and hands, but stable enough to allow for actions such as lifting, pushing, and pulling.


  1. shoulder

    A shoulder is part of the body where the arm is connected to the torso and includes the joint and surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons facilitating arm movement. In a broader context, it can also refer to a part of an object or structure that signifies a protrusion or a feature resembling a human shoulder in shape or position.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Shouldernoun

    the joint, or the region of the joint, by which the fore limb is connected with the body or with the shoulder girdle; the projection formed by the bones and muscles about that joint

  2. Shouldernoun

    the flesh and muscles connected with the shoulder joint; the upper part of the back; that part of the human frame on which it is most easy to carry a heavy burden; -- often used in the plural

  3. Shouldernoun

    fig.: That which supports or sustains; support

  4. Shouldernoun

    that which resembles a human shoulder, as any protuberance or projection from the body of a thing

  5. Shouldernoun

    the upper joint of the fore leg and adjacent parts of an animal, dressed for market; as, a shoulder of mutton

  6. Shouldernoun

    the angle of a bastion included between the face and flank. See Illust. of Bastion

  7. Shouldernoun

    an abrupt projection which forms an abutment on an object, or limits motion, etc., as the projection around a tenon at the end of a piece of timber, the part of the top of a type which projects beyond the base of the raised character, etc

  8. Shoulderverb

    to push or thrust with the shoulder; to push with violence; to jostle

  9. Shoulderverb

    to take upon the shoulder or shoulders; as, to shoulder a basket; hence, to assume the burden or responsibility of; as, to shoulder blame; to shoulder a debt

  10. Etymology: [OE. shulder, shuldre, schutder, AS. sculdor; akin to D. schoulder, G. schulter, OHG. scultarra, Dan. skulder, Sw. skuldra.]


  1. Shoulder

    The human shoulder is made up of three bones: the clavicle, the scapula, and the humerus as well as associated muscles, ligaments and tendons. The articulations between the bones of the shoulder make up the shoulder joints. The major joint of the shoulder is the glenohumeral joint, which "shoulder joint" generally refers to. In human anatomy, the shoulder joint comprises the part of the body where the humerus attaches to the scapula, the head sitting in the glenoid fossa. The shoulder is the group of structures in the region of the joint. There are two kinds of cartilage in the joint. The first type is the white cartilage on the ends of the bones which allows the bones to glide and move on each other. When this type of cartilage starts to wear out, the joint becomes painful and stiff. The labrum is a second kind of cartilage in the shoulder which is distinctly different from the articular cartilage. This cartilage is more fibrous or rigid than the cartilage on the ends of the ball and socket. Also, this cartilage is also found only around the socket where it is attached. The shoulder must be mobile enough for the wide range actions of the arms and hands, but also stable enough to allow for actions such as lifting, pushing and pulling. The compromise between mobility and stability results in a large number of shoulder problems not faced by other joints such as the hip.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. shoulder

    In fortification, that part of a bastion adjacent to the junction of a face with a flank. The actual meeting of these two lines forms the "angle of the shoulder."

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. shoulder

    The upper part of a blade of a sword. Also, the salient angle of the flank of a bastion. To shoulder, to lay on the shoulder, or to rest anything against it. Hence, to shoulder arms, a word of command in the manual exercise.

Editors Contribution

  1. shoulder

    A joint in the body of an animal or human being.

    She used the power of her shoulder to use her tennis racket.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 15, 2020  


  1. Shoulder

    loosely applied to an obtuse angulation; more generally to the humeral angle of fore wings or elytra: the anterior angles of thorax in Lepidoptera; the angles of prothorax in Heteroptera: the lateral angles of metazona of pronotum in Orthoptera.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shoulder' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2243

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shoulder' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3075

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shoulder' in Nouns Frequency: #537

How to pronounce shoulder?

How to say shoulder in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of shoulder in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of shoulder in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of shoulder in a Sentence

  1. Elbert Hubbard:

    Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them.

  2. Richard Chang:

    We did what we call a cut-down : We opened up a big artery in the shoulder area and surgically tied in a graft-conduit, that allowed me to put in the 5-liter pump into the shoulder area through a graft, and pull the other one out from the groin. That ultimately I think is like playing chess — you got ta plan for the next move.

  3. President Barack Obama:

    If, in fact, we defend the legal right of a person to insult another's religion, we're equally obligated to use our free speech to condemn such insults and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with religious communities, particularly religious minorities who are the targets of such attacks, to infringe on one right under the pretext of protecting another is a betrayal of both.

  4. Besmellah Khuram:

    They stood shoulder by shoulder with the Americans to achieve their mission, now it’s America’s time to stand shoulder by shoulder with Afghans who worked with them, who risked their lives.

  5. David Teuscher:

    In boxing, you have to keep your hands up in front of your face and upper torso to defend the blows, or hold them out in a defensive position, and all of that dramatically affects the rotator cuff tendons, it’s his punching shoulder, not his jab shoulder, but either one you have to be able to hit with both, which means you have to be able to extend it out there.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for shoulder

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"shoulder." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Nov. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/shoulder>.

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