9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[shruhg] /ʃrʌg/
verb (used with object), shrugged, shrugging.
to raise and contract (the shoulders), expressing indifference, disdain, etc.
verb (used without object), shrugged, shrugging.
to raise and contract the shoulders.
the movement of raising and contracting the shoulders.
a short sweater or jacket that ends above or at the waistline.
Verb phrases
shrug off,
  1. to disregard; minimize:
    to shrug off an insult.
  2. to rid oneself of:
    to shrug off the effects of a drug.
Origin of shrug
late Middle English
1350-1400; (v.) Middle English schruggen to shudder, shrug < ?; (noun) late Middle English shrugge a tug, pull, derivative of the v.
Related forms
unshrugging, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shrug
  • Most college students would shrug if they heard that a campus bus was on its way home from a field trip.
  • The big shrug of the comfortable ones has an interest behind it.
  • Once again, people have begun to shrug off their concerns and pack their bags.
  • And yet among the climbing cognoscenti the melee elicited little more than a shrug.
  • We stare in the face of the bureaucracy and shrug our shoulders in a collective act of defeat.
  • They seem to react to biochemical difficulties that other cells shrug off without even noticing.
  • Later, others would only shrug when speculating as to why he had chosen this ill-advised tactic.
  • But readers might be forgiven for greeting the findings with a shrug.
  • When pressed, a typical response is no more than a resigned shrug of the shoulders.
  • He responded with a shrug and a wan smile, and then returned to focusing on the work at hand.
British Dictionary definitions for shrug


verb shrugs, shrugging, shrugged
to draw up and drop (the shoulders) abruptly in a gesture expressing indifference, contempt, ignorance, etc
the gesture so made
a woman's short jacket or close-fitting cardigan
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for shrug

c.1400, schurgyng, of uncertain origin. Perhaps connected to Danish skrugge "to stoop, crouch." Related: Shrugged; shrugging. To shrug (something) off "dismiss" is recorded from 1909.


a shoulder motion meant to express indifference, want of an answer, etc., 1590s, from shrug (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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