BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Give the cold shoulder: means they’re behaving in a way that is not friendly at all and they’re doing it for no obvious reason.
Feifei thinks she has a solution to her former friend Lisa’s cold shoulder. But Rob wonders if Feifei’s expensive designer shawl will warm Lisa’s heart. Listen to the programme to find out more.
Hi Feifei. What a beautiful woollen shawl you’re wearing! But it looks far too elegant to use for just for another day in the office…
I know, Rob. I wanted to give it to Lisa, now that she’s got that promotion…
Really? But she’s hardly even said hello to you since her promotion and you used to be friends…
I know. She’s been giving me the cold shoulder. That’s why I brought this woollen shawl for her.
Feifei, you do know there’s a difference between Lisa’s shoulders being cold because it’s winter and her ‘giving you the cold shoulder’, don’t you? You can’t just warm her shoulders and be friends again.
Yes, I do. In English, someone giving you the cold shoulder means they’re behaving in a way that is not friendly at all and they’re doing it for no obvious reason.
Yes. It means they are rejecting you or ignoring you. And ‘give the cold shoulder’ is today’s expression in The English We Speak.
Let’s hear some examples.
After Mary divorced her rich husband all their friends gave her the cold shoulder. She was not invited to their lavish parties anymore.
My brother told our parents I haven’t been studying at all and my marks are low. I’m not happy and I’ve been giving him the cold shoulder. Let’s see if he’s got the message.
Rob, I know what giving someone the cold shoulder means, but even so I think this shawl might help me get Lisa to change how she’s acting.
Well, Lisa loves fashion and designer clothes. As soon as she sees me with this lovely shawl, she’ll be impressed and stop ignoring me. She won’t think she’s better than me anymore!
Well, and if you lend it to her, she might not feel cold anymore… it’s been rather cold in the last few weeks…
Yes. This woollen shawl will stop her having cold shoulders and might even stop her giving me the cold shoulder. How about that?
Now that is a clever use of the English language!
The English We Speak – Give the cold shoulder Transcript Video
The English We Speak
- The English We Speak – Treading on eggshells
- The English We Speak – To make a monkey out of me
- The English We Speak – Take a rain check
- The English We Speak – Hot potato
- The English We Speak – Use your loaf
- The English We Speak – There’s method to my madness
- The English We Speak – Skeleton in the closet
- The English We Speak – In good nick
- The English We Speak – Get lost!
- The English We Speak – Cheap and cheerful
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