Meaning of COLD in English


I. cold 1 S1 W1 /kəʊld $ koʊld/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative colder , superlative coldest )

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: ceald , cald ]

1 . OBJECTS/SURFACES/LIQUIDS/ROOMS something that is cold has a low temperature OPP hot ⇨ coldness :

She splashed her face with cold water.

a blast of cold air

We slept on the cold ground.

The house felt cold and empty.

ice/stone/freezing cold (=very cold)

The radiator is stone cold; isn’t the heating working?

go/get cold (=become cold)

My tea’s gone cold.

Come and eat or your dinner will get cold!

2 . WEATHER when there is cold weather, the temperature of the air is very low OPP hot ⇨ coldness :

It was so cold this morning I had to scrape the ice off my windshield.

The day was bitterly cold.

The hut sheltered her from the cold wind.

cold winter/evening/January etc

the coldest winter on record

cold out/outside

It was raining and freezing cold outside.

The weather gets colder around the middle of October.

turn/grow cold (=become cold or colder, especially suddenly)

The nights grew colder.

3 . be/feel/look/get cold if you are cold, your body is at a low temperature:

Could you turn up the heater, I’m cold.

I feel so cold!

My feet are as cold as ice (=very cold) .

4 . FOOD cold food is cooked but not eaten hot:

a plate of cold meats

a cold buffet

Serve the potatoes cold.

5 . LACKING FEELING unfriendly or lacking normal human feelings such as sympathy, pity, humour etc OPP warm ⇨ coldly , coldness :

Martin was really cold towards me at the party.

His voice was as cold as ice.

She gave him a cold stare.

a cold calculated murder

6 . get/have cold feet informal to suddenly feel that you are not brave enough to do something you planned to do:

The plan failed after sponsors got cold feet.

7 . give somebody the cold shoulder informal to deliberately ignore someone or be unfriendly to them, especially because they have upset or offended you

8 . LIGHT/COLOUR a cold colour or light reminds you of things that are cold OPP warm ⇨ coldness :

the cold light of a fluorescent tube

9 . in the cold light of day in the morning, when you can think clearly or see something clearly:

The house seemed less threatening in the cold light of day.

10 . cold (hard) cash American English money in the form of paper money and coins rather than cheques or ↑ credit card s

11 . leave somebody cold to not feel interested in or affected by something in any way:

Opera left him cold.

12 . take/need a cold shower used humorously to say that someone is sexually excited and the cold water will stop them feeling that way

13 . sb’s trail/scent is cold used to say that you cannot find someone because it has been too long since they passed or lived in a particular place:

I tracked the boy as far as the factory, but there his trail went cold.

14 . IN GAMES [not before noun] used in children’s games, to say that someone is far away from the hidden object or answer they are trying to find:

You’re getting colder!

15 . cold facts facts without anything added to make them more pleasant or interesting:

Statistics can be merely cold facts.

16 . cold steel literary a weapon such as a knife or sword

⇨ in cold blood at ↑ blood 1 (3), ⇨ cold fish at ↑ fish 1 (8), ⇨ blow hot and cold at ↑ blow 1 (21), ⇨ cold comfort at ↑ comfort 1 (7), ⇨ pour cold water over/on at ↑ pour (6), ⇨ a cold sweat at ↑ sweat 2 (4)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ cold + NOUN

▪ cold weather

More cold weather is expected later this week.

▪ a cold night/day

It was a cold night with a starlit sky.

▪ a cold winter

A cold winter will increase oil consumption.

▪ a cold wind

A cold wind was blowing from the north.

▪ a cold spell (=a period of cold weather, especially a short one)

We’re currently going through a bit of a cold spell.

▪ a cold snap (=a short period of very cold weather)

There had been a sudden cold snap just after Christmas.

■ adverbs

▪ freezing/icy cold

Take your gloves – it’s freezing cold out there.

▪ bitterly cold (=very cold)

The winter of 1921 was bitterly cold.

▪ unusually/exceptionally cold

a period of unusually cold weather

▪ quite/pretty cold

It’s going to be quite cold today.

▪ cold out/outside

It’s too cold out – I’m staying at home.

■ verbs

▪ become cold ( also get cold informal )

In my country, it never really gets cold.

▪ turn/grow cold (=become cold, especially suddenly)

The birds fly south before the weather turns cold.

• • •


■ person

▪ cold used especially when you feel uncomfortable:

I’m cold – can I borrow a sweater?

▪ cool a little cold, especially in a way that feels comfortable:

The air-conditioning keeps everyone cool.

▪ freezing (cold) spoken very cold and very uncomfortable:

You look absolutely freezing!

▪ shivery cold and unable to stop shivering, especially because you are ill:

I felt shivery and had a headache.

■ weather

▪ cold used especially when you feel uncomfortable:

It gets very cold here in the winter.

▪ cool a little cold, often in a way that feels comfortable:

It’s very hot in the day, but cooler at night.


a nice cool breeze

▪ chilly a little cold, but not very cold, in a way that feels rather uncomfortable:

a chilly autumn day


It’s a bit chilly.

▪ freezing (cold) spoken very cold and very uncomfortable:

It’s freezing outside.

▪ bitterly cold very cold and very uncomfortable:

It can be bitterly cold in the mountains.

▪ icy (cold) very cold, especially when the temperature is below zero:

The wind was icy cold.

▪ crisp cold, dry, and clear, in a way that seems pleasant:

I love these crisp autumn mornings.

▪ frosty in frosty weather, the ground is covered in a frozen white powder:

It was a bright frosty morning.

▪ arctic extremely cold and unpleasant, with snow and ice:

He would not survive for long in the arctic conditions.


arctic weather

■ room

▪ cold used especially when you feel uncomfortable:

It’s cold in here.

▪ cool a little cold, especially in a way that feels comfortable:

Let’s go inside where it’s cool.

▪ freezing (cold) spoken very cold:

I had to sleep in a freezing cold room.

▪ draughty British English , drafty American English /ˈdrɑːfti $ ˈdræfti/ with cold air blowing in from outside, in a way that feels uncomfortable:

Old houses can be very draughty.

■ food, liquid, or something you touch

▪ cold :

The water’s too cold for swimming.


a cold stone floor

▪ cool a little cold, especially in a way that seems pleasant:

a nice cool drink


cool white sheets

▪ freezing (cold) very cold:

His friends pulled him from the freezing water.

▪ chilled food and drinks that are chilled have been deliberately made cold:

a bottle of chilled champagne

▪ frozen kept at a temperature which is below zero:

frozen peas

II. cold 2 BrE AmE noun

1 . [countable] a common illness that makes it difficult to breathe through your nose and often makes your throat hurt:

I’ve got a bad cold.

Keep your feet dry so you don’t catch a cold.

⇨ ↑ common cold

2 . [uncountable] ( also the cold ) a low temperature or cold weather:

I was shivering with cold.

Don’t go out in the cold without your coat!

you’ll catch your death of cold British English (=used to warn someone that they may become very ill if they do not keep themselves warm in cold weather)

3 . come in from the cold to become accepted or recognized, especially by a powerful group of people

4 . leave somebody out in the cold informal to not include someone in an activity:

He chose to favour us one at a time and the others were left out in the cold.

• • •


■ verbs

▪ have (got) a cold

She’s staying at home today because she’s got a cold.

▪ be getting a cold (=be starting to have a cold)

I think I might be getting a cold.

▪ catch a cold (=start to have one)

I caught a cold and had to miss the match.

▪ come down with a cold ( also go down with a cold British English ) informal (=catch one)

A lot of people go down with colds at this time of year.

▪ be suffering from a cold formal (=have one)

He was suffering from a cold and not his usual energetic self.

▪ suffer from colds formal (=have colds)

Some people suffer from more colds than others.


▪ a bad cold

If you have a bad cold, just stay in bed.

▪ a nasty cold ( also a heavy cold British English ) (=a bad one)

He sounded as if he had a heavy cold.

▪ a streaming cold British English (=in which a lot of liquid comes from your nose)

You shouldn’t go to work if you’ve got a streaming cold.

▪ a slight cold

It’s only a slight cold – I’ll be fine tomorrow.

▪ a chest cold (=affecting your chest)

He’s coughing all the time with a bad chest cold.

▪ a head cold (=affecting your nose and head)

A bad head cold can sometimes feel like flu.

▪ the common cold formal

There are hundreds of viruses that cause the common cold.

III. cold 3 BrE AmE adverb

1 . American English suddenly and completely:

Paul stopped cold. ‘What was that noise?’

2 . out cold informal unconscious:

He drank until he was out cold.

You were knocked out cold (=hit on the head so that you became unconscious) .

3 . without preparation:

I can’t just get up there and make a speech cold!

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.