What is the meaning of the phrase in bold in the following sentence.

I just shrugged off when he fired me.

Does it mean to stop talking about it?

I found:

Phrasal Verb: shrug off. 1. To minimize the importance of: shrugged off the defeat and talked about tonight's game.

But I don't really get the meaning here in my given example sentence "minimize the importance of what"?

  • 3
    The idiom is misused in your example: shrug here requires an object, I just shrugged it (that is, the firing) off. Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 16:45
  • It's a part of an email conversation with an American friend of mine who lives in LA. its strange native Americans also make mistakes in conversation.
    – Hola
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 4:29
  • People often type casual and edit emails hurriedly--this could be just a typo. Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


A shrug is a quick jerky shoulder movement.

The phrasal verb shrug off in its original sense indicates a shoulder movement one would use to shake off a piece of clothing or an unwelcome hand.

The shrug gesture indicates either ignorance ("I don't know") or indifference ("I don't care). You may know the corresponding emoji: 🤷‍♂️

In a similarly figurative sense, shrug off means to shake off a (negative) experience or comment, to ignore it or to show that one is not affected by it.

In your example, it means the speaker says he or she didn't really care about being fired.

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