0

As The Free Dictionary says:

To give somebody the cold shoulder:
- To intentionally appear disinterested toward one; to snub. This phrase usually refers to the act of ignoring someone.

Example:

  • She thinks you started that rumor about her—that's why she's been giving you the cold shoulder all day.

Also, it mentions that:

To snub somebody:
- To ignore or behave coldly toward; slight.

I think they both mean exactly the same thing, where "to give someone the cold shoulder" is only an idiom to the simple verb "snub". So we can say:

  • She thinks you started that rumor about her—that's why she's been snubbing you all day.

without any change in meaning.

I was wondering if you could explain if I am right or wrong. If not, then what would be the subtle difference between them?

  • 1
    There is a small difference – the idiom is usually passive and just means "ignoring". But "to snub" can mean acting against someone's interests. See the last definition: "to slight". – Weather Vane Sep 24 at 7:50
1

You have got it correct all throughout. There seems to be a subtle difference between the two.

According to Cambridge dictionary, "snub" means

"to insult someone by not giving them any attention or treating them as if they are not important."

Collins says

"if you snub someone, you deliberately insult them by ignoring them or by behaving or speaking rudely towards them."

The emotion/feeling in "snub" is likely that of "disdain" (the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one's consideration or respect).

Cambridge says to "give someone the cold shoulder" is "to intentionally ignore someone or treat someone in an unfriendly way". The emotion or display of "insult/rudeness" is absent here, unlike in "snub".

One of the definitions of "snub" listed in the free dictionary is "to treat with disdain or contempt, esp. by ignoring."

... —that's why she's been giving you the cold shoulder all day.

Here, she is just ignoring you.

... —that's why she's been snubbing you all day.

Here, she is ignoring you while giving you the middle finger. She is ignoring your calls, but uploading screenshots of your needy messages in social media. Or just simply giving you a scornful look and then walking away.

  • So what I get through your answer is that the key point is "insult"; so to me, "snub = give somebody the cold shoulder + insult". @AIQ do you confirm my takeaway? – A-friend Sep 24 at 8:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.