cold comfort

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cold comfort (countable and uncountable, plural cold comforts)

  1. (idiomatic) Much less reassurance, consolation, aid, or pleasure than one needs or desires.
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, act 4, scene 1:
      Shall I complain on thee to our mistress,
      whose hand, she being now at hand, thou shalt soon
      feel, to thy cold comfort, for being slow in thy hot office?
    • 1844, James Fenimore Cooper, chapter 6, in Miles Wallingford:
      A cold breakfast was very cold comfort.
    • 1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs, chapter 9, in At the Earth's Core:
      At least I should not die alone. Human eyes would watch me end. It was cold comfort I presume, but yet I derived some slight peace of mind from the contemplation of it.
    • 2010 April 8, Ben Lando, "U.S. Officials Downplay Rash of Baghdad Attacks," Time:
      But statistics are cold comfort when the latest explosion has leveled a nearby building.