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Can You Get A Cold In A Shoulder?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 05:04 PM

Have you ever heard anyone say they have a 'cold in their shoulder'? Is this actually possible, or what exactly does that mean?

I have heard the expression but cannot find anything regarding it using Google. I guess I am interested in this expression's origin, and if it has any medical validity.

Anyone know?
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#2 KoanYorel

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 05:24 PM

I'm wondering if a cold in the shoulder are mild symptoms of a "Frozen Shoulder."

Gender matters in frozen shoulder malady

From Wikipedia



It's funny you should ask the question as the AP article above came out just yesterday.
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#3 MattV

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 08:36 PM

The phrase sounds like a colloquialism that may refer to symptoms of bursitis, which are generally more pronounced during the winter months - hence the "cold".

I'll probably be talking to my folks within a day or so; I'll ask them if they can shed any light on the question.

#4 dribdrab

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 09:18 AM

Found this.

On a BBC cookery program I recently heard a story of how the expression "to give someone the cold shoulder" came about. They implied that when guests had outstayed their welcome, they would be served cold shoulder of mutton. This cut of meat was evidently considered of such poor quality that the guests would immediately understand that they were, in reality, being asked to leave. We have the exact same expression in Norwegian, but the explanation doesn't ring true to me. I like shoulder of mutton. I can't imagine how it could be considered to be so bad that it would chase your guests away. In rural Norway in the old days they would be lucky to get any meat at all. -- Karin Hoff, Norway.
Oh yes, mutton. That's the gray, chewy stuff so popular in Great Britain, right? Or maybe I have it confused with Harris Tweed, presuming there is a difference. In any case, wave any sort of mutton at me and I'm history, so that story has some built-in appeal to me.

Unfortunately, the explanation of "cold shoulder" you've heard is almost certainly one of those colorful word-origin tales that ought to be, but is not, true. As far as we know, "cold shoulder" meaning "indifference or disdain" first appeared in the 1816 novel "The Antiquary," by Sir Walter Scott. The actual wording used by Scott gives a clue as to the derivation of the phrase: "The Countess's dislike didna gang (didn't go) farther at first than just showing o' the cauld shouther." It seems clear that the shoulder in question was not a cut of cold mutton, but the Countess's own -- she had turned her back and "shown her shoulder" in "cold" dismissal. In a later novel, Scott wrote "I must tip him the cold shoulder, or he will be pestering me eternally," which again clearly refers to rude body language as the cure for a pest.

The important point about these first instances of "showing" or "tipping the cold shoulder" is that there is no earlier record of any truly meat-based use upon which "cold shoulder" meaning "disdain" could have been based. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that cold mutton as a dish has "suggested many puns and allusive uses," but no reputable authority has maintained that the phrase is actually rooted in a culinary tactic to dislodge overripe house guests.





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Edited by dribdrab, 12 December 2007 - 09:19 AM.


#5 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 05:57 PM

Hey, good responses!

I actually am just getting over a cold, and believe it or not, it seems to coincide with pain in my right shoulder. When I started feeling pain and stiffness is when the cold started. The cold ended at the exact same time the stiffness went away.

This wouldn't be worth mentioning to me, except that this is the SECOND time this has happened to me.

HMMMMMMM. Just wondering if they are related somehow, and then I remembered hearing the expression "having a cold in a shoulder."
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#6 mommabear

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 07:00 PM

MattV's explanation sounds the most plausible. I'm in my sixties and I can remember hearing comments like that when I was growing up. Even applied it to my youngest daughter when she had unexplained swelling and pain in her knee when she was about 10 or 11, and had a cold at the same time. Made perfect sense to me then...her cold had 'settled' in her knee.

It might also be a simple description for mild cases of the flu; and the aches, especially in the joints, that come with it.




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