Etymology
Advertisement

cold (adj.)

Old English cald (Anglian), ceald (West Saxon) "producing strongly the sensation which results when the temperature of the skin is lowered," also "having a low temperature," from Proto-Germanic *kaldjon (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon kald, Old High German and German kalt, Old Norse kaldr, Gothic kalds "cold"), from PIE root *gel- "cold; to freeze" (source also of Latin gelare "to freeze," gelu "frost," glacies "ice").

Sense of "unmoved by strong feeling" was in late Old English. Meaning "having a relatively low temperature, not heated" is from mid-13c. Sense of "dead" is from mid-14c. Meaning "not strong, affecting the senses only slightly" (in reference to scent or trails in hunting or tracking) is from 1590s; hence the extended sense in seeking-games, "distant from the object of search" (1864).

Cold front in weather is from 1921. Cold sweat is by 1630s. Cold-call (v.) in the sales pitch sense is recorded by 1964 (implied in cold-calling; the noun cold call is by 1953; cold-selling is from 1947). Cold comfort (by 1650s) is "little comfort, something which offers little cheer." Cold-cream "cooling unguent for the skin" is from 1709. To throw cold water on in the figurative sense "discourage by unexpected reluctance or indifference" is from 1808.

Japanese has two words for "cold:" samui for coldness in the atmosphere or environment; tsumetai for things which are cold to touch, and also in the figurative sense, with reference to personalities, behaviors, etc.

cold (n.)

c. 1300, "coldness of an object to the touch, relative absence of heat," from cold (adj.). Meaning "sensation produced by loss of heat from the body or some part of it" is from c. 1200.

Sense of "indisposition involving catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose or throat" is from 1530s, so called because the symptoms resemble those of exposure to cold; compare cold (n.) in earlier senses "indisposition or disease caused by excessive exposure to cold" (early 14c.), "chills of intermittent fever" (late 14c.). To be left out in the cold in the figurative sense is from 1861.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of cold
1
cold (adj.)
unconscious from a blow or shock or intoxication;
pass out cold
the boxer was out cold
cold (adj.)
having a low or inadequate temperature or feeling a sensation of coldness or having been made cold by e.g. ice or refrigeration;
if you are cold, turn up the heat
cold fingers
a cold climate
a cold beer
a cold room
dinner has gotten cold
cold (adj.)
extended meanings; especially of psychological coldness; without human warmth or emotion;
the concert left me cold
a cold unfriendly nod
a cold and unaffectionate person
cold logic
a cold impersonal manner
cold (adj.)
having lost freshness through passage of time;
a cold trail
dogs attempting to catch a cold scent
cold (adj.)
(color) giving no sensation of warmth;
a cold bluish grey
cold (adj.)
marked by errorless familiarity;
had her lines cold before rehearsals started
cold (adj.)
lacking originality or spontaneity; no longer new;
Synonyms: stale / dusty / moth-eaten
cold (adj.)
so intense as to be almost uncontrollable;
cold fury gripped him
cold (adj.)
sexually unresponsive;
was cold to his advances
Synonyms: frigid
cold (adj.)
feeling or showing no enthusiasm;
a cold audience
a cold response to the new play
cold (adj.)
of a seeker; far from the object sought;
cold (adj.)
lacking the warmth of life;
cold in his grave
cold (adj.)
without compunction or human feeling;
in cold blood
cold-blooded killing
2
cold (n.)
a mild viral infection involving the nose and respiratory passages (but not the lungs);
will they never find a cure for the common cold?
Synonyms: common cold
cold (n.)
the absence of heat;
come in out of the cold
cold is a vasoconstrictor
Synonyms: coldness / low temperature / frigidity / frigidness
cold (n.)
the sensation produced by low temperatures;
he shivered from the cold
the cold helped clear his head
Synonyms: coldness
From wordnet.princeton.edu