• (RP) IPA: /kəʊld/, /kɔʊld/
  • (GA) enPR: kōld, IPA: /koʊld/

cold (comparative colder, superlative coldest)

  1. (of a thing) Having a low temperature.
    A cold wind whistled through the trees.
    • 1843 December 18, Charles Dickens, “Stave Four. The Last of the Spirits.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, […], OCLC 55746801 ↗, page 137 ↗:
      Oh cold, cold, rigid, dreadful Death, set up thine altar here, and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion!
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter V, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      I had always supposed that playboys didn't give a hoot for anything except blondes and cold bottles.
  2. (of the weather) Causing the air to be cold.
    The forecast is that it will be very cold today.
  3. (of a person or animal) Feeling the sensation of coldness, especially to the point of discomfort.
    She was so cold she was shivering.
  4. Unfriendly, emotionally distant or unfeeling.
    She shot me a cold glance before turning her back.
    • 2011 April 23, Doctor Who, series 6, episode 1, The Impossible Astronaut:
      RIVER SONG (upon seeing the still-living DOCTOR, moments after he made her and two other friends watch what they thought was his death): This is cold. Even by your standards, this is cold.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter VII, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      “Suppose someone pops in?” “Don't be silly. Mrs Cream is working on her book. Phyllis is in her room, typing Upjohn's speech. Wilbert's gone for a walk. Upjohn isn't here. The only character who could pop in would be the Brinkley Court ghost. If it does, give it a cold look and walk through it. That'll teach it not to come butting in where it isn't wanted, ha ha.”
  5. Dispassionate, not prejudiced or partisan, impartial.
    Let's look at this tomorrow with a cold head.
    He's a nice guy, but the cold facts say we should fire him.
    The cold truth is that states rarely undertake military action unless their national interests are at stake.
  6. Completely unprepared; without introduction.
    He was assigned cold calls for the first three months.
  7. Unconscious or deeply asleep; deprived of the metaphorical heat associated with life or consciousness.
    I knocked him out cold.
    After one more beer he passed out cold.
  8. (usually with "have" or "know" transitively) Perfectly, exactly, completely; by heart.
    Practice your music scales until you know them cold.
    Try both these maneuvers until you have them cold and can do them in the dark without thinking.
    Rehearse your lines until you have them down cold.
    Keep that list in front of you, or memorize it cold.
  9. (usually with "have" transitively) Cornered, done for.
    With that receipt, we have them cold for fraud.
    Criminal interrogation. Initially they will dream up explanations faster than you could ever do so, but when they become fatigued, often they will acknowledge that you have them cold.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XIX, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      “Either Upjohn agrees to drop that libel suit or he doesn't get these notes, as he calls them, and without them he won't be able to utter a word. He'll have to come across with the price of the papers. Won't he, Jeeves?” “He would appear to have no alternative, miss.” “Unless he wants to get up on that platform and stand there opening and shutting his mouth like a goldfish. We've got him cold.”
  10. (obsolete) Not pungent or acrid.
    • 1627, [Francis Bacon], “(please specify )”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. […], London: Published after the authors death, by VVilliam Rawley; printed by I[ohn] H[aviland and Augustine Mathewes] for William Lee […], OCLC 1044242069 ↗; Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. […], 3rd edition, London: Published […] by VVilliam Rawley. Printed by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee […], 1631, OCLC 1044372886 ↗:
      cold plants
  11. (obsolete) Unexciting; dull; uninteresting.
    • 1641, Ben Jonson, Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter
      What a deal of cold business doth a man misspend the better part of life in!
    • 1705 (revised 1718), Joseph Addison, Remarks on Several Parts of Italy
      The jest grows cold […] when it comes on in a second scene.
  12. Affecting the sense of smell (as of hunting dogs) only feebly; having lost its odour.
    a cold scent
  13. (obsolete) Not sensitive; not acute.
    • c. 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The VVinters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene i]:
      Smell this business with a sense as cold / As is a dead man's nose.
  14. Distant; said, in the game of hunting for some object, of a seeker remote from the thing concealed. Compare warm and hot.
    You're cold … getting warmer … hot! You've found it!
  15. (painting) Having a bluish effect; not warm in colour.
  16. (databases) Rarely used or accessed, and thus able to be relegated to slower storage.
  17. (informal) Without compassion; heartless; ruthless
    I can't believe she said that...that was cold!
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations
  • French: (to be cold) faire froid (idiom in French; there is no translation for the adjective alone)
  • Italian: freddo
  • Portuguese: frio, gelado
  • Russian: хо́лодно
  • Spanish: frío
  • French: (to be cold) avoir froid (idiom in French; there is no translation for the adjective alone)
  • Italian: (to be cold) avere freddo (idiom in Italian; there is no translation for the adjective alone)
  • Portuguese: com frio
  • Russian: холо́дный
Translations Translations
  • French: froid
  • German: kalt
  • Portuguese: despreparado
  • Russian: непригото́вленный

cold (plural colds)

  1. A condition of low temperature.
    Come in, out of the cold.
  2. (with 'the', figurative) A harsh place; a place of abandonment.
    The former politician was left out in the cold after his friends deserted him.
  3. (medicine) A common, usually harmless, viral illness, usually with congestion of the nasal passages and sometimes fever.
    I caught a miserable cold and had to stay home for a week
  4. (slang) rheum, sleepy dust
    • 1994, Notorious B.I.G., Warning
      Who the fuck is this, pagin' me at 5:46 in the morning? / crack of dawn and now I'm yawnin' / wipe the cold out my eye, see who's this pagin' me and why
    • 1996, Ghostface Killah, All That I Got Is You
      But I remember this, moms would lick her finger tips / to wipe the cold out my eye before school with her spit
Synonyms Translations Translations Adverb


  1. While at low temperature.
    The steel was processed cold.
  2. Without preparation.
    The speaker went in cold and floundered for a topic.
  3. With finality.
    I knocked him out cold.
  4. (slang, informal, dated) In a cold, frank, or realistically honest manner.
    • 1986, Run-DMC, Peter Piper.
      Now Little Bo Peep cold lost her sheep / And Rip van Winkle fell the hell asleep

This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.004
Offline English dictionary