From Middle English schruggen, shrukken, probably of North Germanic origin related to Danish skrugge, skrukke (“to stoop; crouch”), Swedish skruga, skrukka (“to huddle; crouch”), all from or related to Old Norse skrykkva, from Proto-Germanic *skrinkwaną. Compare also Old English scrincan (“to shrink”). More at shrink.
shrug (plural shrugs)
- A lifting of the shoulders to signal indifference or a casual lack of knowledge.
- He dismissed my comment with a shrug.
- A cropped, cardigan-like garment with short or long sleeves, typically knitted.
- (transitive, intransitive) To raise (the shoulders) to express uncertainty, lack of concern, (formerly) dread, etc.
- I asked him for an answer and he just shrugged.
- When he saw the problem, he just shrugged and started fixing it.
- 1712 January 13, Joseph Addison; Richard Steele, “WEDNESDAY, January 2, 1711–1712 [Julian calendar]”, in The Spectator, number 264; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, […], volume III, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, OCLC 191120697:
- He […] shrugs his shoulders when you talk of securities.