Definition of “shrug” - English Dictionary

“shrug” in British English

See all translations

shrugverb [ I or T ]

us uk /ʃrʌɡ/ -gg-

C2 to raise your shoulders and then lower them in order to say you do not know or are not interested:

"Where's Dad?" "How should I know?" replied my brother, shrugging.
He shrugged his shoulders as if to say that there was nothing he could do about it.
figurative Thousands of people are starving to death while the world shrugs its shoulders (= shows no interest or care).

More examples

Phrasal verb(s)

shrugnoun [ C ]

us uk /ʃrʌɡ/

shrug noun [ C ] (SHOULDER MOVEMENT)

the action of raising and lowering your shoulders to express something:

"I'm afraid there's nothing I can do about your problem," she said with a shrug.
"Well, I guess we'll just have to do what he says," said Kim with a shrug of resignation.

shrug noun [ C ] (CLOTHES)

a short cardigan for women

(Definition of “shrug” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“shrug” in American English

See all translations

shrugverb [ I/T ]

us /ʃrʌɡ/ -gg-

to raise your shoulders to express that you do not know, do not care, or are not sure about something:

[ I ] My brother just shrugged in reply, too lazy to answer in words.
shrug
noun [ C ] us /ʃrʌɡ/

Bill’s only explanation was a careless shrug of his shoulders.

(Definition of “shrug” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)