What does shrug mean?

Definitions for shrugʃrʌg

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word shrug.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. shrug(verb)

    a gesture involving the shoulders

  2. shrug(verb)

    raise one's shoulders to indicate indifference or resignation


  1. shrug(n.)

    A gesture consisting of drawing up the shoulders, -- a motion usually expressing doubt, indifference, or dislike; -- it is sometimes accompanied by a slight turning of the hands outward or upward. Such a gesture may be made, as in answering "who knows" to a question, suggesting utter ignorance of an answer and a disinclination to pursue the topic further.


  1. shrug(Noun)

    A lifting of the shoulders to signal indifference.

    He dismissed my comment with a shrug.

  2. shrug(Verb)

    To raise the shoulders to express a lack of knowledge or certainty.

    I asked him for an answer and he just shrugged.

  3. shrug(Verb)

    To raise the shoulders to express a lack of concern or worry.

    When he saw the problem, he just shrugged and started fixing it.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Shrug(verb)

    to draw up or contract (the shoulders), especially by way of expressing dislike, dread, doubt, or the like

  2. Shrug(verb)

    to raise or draw up the shoulders, as in expressing dislike, dread, doubt, or the like

  3. Shrug(noun)

    a drawing up of the shoulders, -- a motion usually expressing dislike, dread, or doubt

  4. Origin: [Probably akin to shrink, p. p. shrunk; cf. Dan. skrugge, skrukke, to stoop, dial. Sw. skrukka, skruga, to crouch.]


  1. Shrug

    A shrug is a gesture that is performed by lifting both shoulders up, and is an indication of an individual either not knowing an answer to a question, or not caring about a result. It can also be used when someone is simply ignoring the person's question. It may be accentuated with raised eyebrows and/or an exaggerated frown. It is very common in Western culture, rather than saying "I don't know", they would simply perform a shrug. In the English-speaking world it may be accompanied by a three syllable grunt or hummed mumble mimicking the intonation of "I dunno". The shrug is relatively absent from Eastern culture. The gesture may be accompanied by raised palms.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Shrug

    shrug, v.t. to draw up: to contract.—v.i. to draw up the shoulders, expressive of doubt, surprise, indifference, &c.:—pr.p. shrug′ging; pa.t. and pa.p. shrugged.—n. an expressive drawing up of the shoulders. [Scand., Dan. skrugge, to stoop.]

Suggested Resources

  1. shrug

    Song lyrics by shrug -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by shrug on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shrug' in Verbs Frequency: #591


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of shrug in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of shrug in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Larry Sabato:

    This is a shrug of the shoulders.

  2. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

    I am going to keep saying loud and clear that I am a feminist until it is met with a shrug.

  3. William Copeland:

    If someone's maltreated, we tend to validate them, to tell them that it's not their fault, with bullying, it's sometimes the case that the response is a lot less supportive, more of a shrug.

  4. Jonathan Swift:

    Nor do they trust their tongue alone, but speak a language of their own; can read a nod, a shrug, a look, far better than a printed book; convey a libel in a frown, and wink a reputation down.

  5. Tom Porcelli:

    For even those folks that have been doubters about it, this has to pull them to the other side in terms of that conversation, one number in and of itself will not dictate if a hike happens or not, but a number like this is hard to shrug off.

Images & Illustrations of shrug

  1. shrugshrugshrug

Translations for shrug

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • encongiment d'espatllesCatalan, Valencian
  • pokrčit ramenyCzech
  • skuldertræk, trække på skuldreneDanish
  • Schulterzucken, mit den Schultern zucken, mit den Achseln zucken, AchselzuckenGerman
  • encogimiento de hombros, encogerse de hombrosSpanish
  • olankohautus, kohauttaaFinnish
  • haussement d'épaules, hausser les épaulesFrench
  • crathadh, crathScottish Gaelic
  • stringere le spalle, scrollareItalian
  • 肩を窄める, 肩を竦めるJapanese
  • schouderophalenDutch
  • wzruszyć ramionamiPolish
  • encolhida de ombros, dar de ombros, encolher os ombrosPortuguese
  • пожимание плечами, пожать плечами, пожимать плечамиRussian
  • слијегање раменима, slijeganje ramenima, slegnuti ramenima, слегнути раменимаSerbo-Croatian
  • rycka på axlarna, axelryckningSwedish

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