American English

Definition of shoulder noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    part of body
  1. 1[countable] either of the two parts of the body between the top of each arm and the neck He slung the bag over his shoulder. She tapped him on the shoulder. He looked back over his shoulder. She shrugged her shoulders (= showing that she didn't know or care). an off-the-shoulder dress He carried the child on his shoulders. Topic CollocationsPhysical AppearanceA person may be described as having:eyes (bright) blue/green/(dark/light) brown/hazel eyes deep-set/sunken/bulging/protruding eyes small/beady/sparkling/twinkling/shifty eyes piercing/penetrating/steely eyes bloodshot/watery/puffy eyes bushy/thick/dark/raised/arched eyebrows long/dark/thick/curly/false eyelashes/lashesface a flat/bulbous/pointed/sharp/snub nose a straight/a pointy/a Roman/an aquiline nose full/thick/thin/pouty lips dry/chapped/cracked lips flushed/rosy/red/ruddy/pale cheeks soft/chubby/sunken cheeks white/perfect/crooked/protruding teeth a large/high/broad/wide forehead a strong/weak/pointed/double chin a long/full/bushy/wispy beard a full/thin goatee a long/thin/bushy/droopy/handlebar/pencil mustachehair and skin pale/fair/olive/dark/tanned skin dry/oily/smooth/rough/leathery/wrinkled skin a dark/pale/light/sallow/ruddy/olive/swarthy/clear complexion deep/fine/small/facial wrinkles blonde/blond/fair/(light/dark) brown/(jet-)black/auburn/red/ginger/gray hair straight/curly/wavy/frizzy/spiky hair thick/thin/fine/bushy/thinning hair dyed/bleached/soft/silky/dry/greasy/shiny hair long/short/shoulder-length/cropped hair a bald/balding/shaved head a receding hairline a bald patch/spot a side/center partbody a long/short/thick/slender/ (disapproving) scrawny neck broad/narrow/sloping/rounded/hunched shoulders a bare/broad/muscular/small/large chest a flat/round/swollen/bulging stomach a small/tiny/narrow/slim/slender/28-inch waist big/wide/narrow/slim hips a straight/bent/arched/broad/hairy back thin/slender/muscular arms big/large/small/manicured/calloused/gloved hands long/short/fat/slender/delicate/bony fingers long/muscular/hairy/shapely/ (informal) (often disapproving) skinny/spindly legs muscular/chubby/ (informal) (disapproving) flabby thighs/calves big/little/small/dainty/wide/narrow/bare feet a good/slim/slender/hourglass figure be of slim/medium/average/large/athletic/stocky build
  2. -shouldered
  3. 2(in adjectives) having the type of shoulders mentioned broad-shouldered see also round-shouldered
  4. clothing
  5. 3[countable] the part of a piece of clothing that covers the shoulder a jacket with padded shoulders
  6. meat
  7. 4[uncountable, countable] shoulder (of something) meat from the top part of one of the front legs of an animal that has four legs
  8. side of road
  9. 5[countable] an area of ground at the side of a road where vehicles can stop in an emergency No shoulder for next 5 miles. see also soft shoulder
  10. of mountain/bottle, etc.
  11. 6[countable] shoulder (of something) a part of something, such as a bottle or mountain, that is shaped like a shoulder The village lay just around the shoulder of the hill.
  12. Idioms
    be/stand head and shoulders above somebody/something
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    to be much better than other people or things His performance stood head and shoulders above the rest.
    be looking over your shoulder
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    to be anxious and have the feeling that someone is going to do something unpleasant or harmful to you
    give somebody the cold shoulder (informal)
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    to treat someone in an unfriendly way see also cold-shoulder
    have a chip on your shoulder (about something) (informal)
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    to be sensitive about something that happened in the past and become easily offended if it is mentioned because you think that you were treated unfairly He has a real chip on his shoulder about being adopted.
    have a good head on your shoulders
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    to be a sensible person
    on somebody's shoulders
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    if blame, guilt, etc. is on someone's shoulders, they must take responsibility for it Stop trying to put the blame on somebody else's shoulders.
    put your shoulder to the wheel
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    to start working very hard at a particular task Everyone is going to have to put their shoulder to the wheel.
    rub shoulders with somebody (also rub elbows with somebody)
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    to meet and spend time with a famous person, socially or as part of your job He's rubbing shoulders with stars all the time.
    a shoulder to cry on
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    (used to describe a person who listens to your problems and gives you sympathy)
      shoulder to shoulder (with somebody)
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    1. 1physically close to someone The large crowd stood shoulder to shoulder in the stands.
    2. 2as one group that has the same aims, opinions, etc.
    straight from the shoulder
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    if you say something straight from the shoulder, you are being very honest and direct, even if what you are saying is critical
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: shoulder