a. The joint connecting the arm with the torso.
b. The part of the human body between the neck and upper arm.
a. The joint of a vertebrate animal that connects the forelimb to the trunk.
b. The part of an animal near this joint.
3. often shoulders The area of the back from one shoulder to the other.
4. A cut of meat including the joint of the foreleg and adjacent parts.
5. The portion of a garment that covers the shoulder.
6. An angled or sloping part, as:
a. The angle between the face and flank of a bastion in a fortification.
b. The area between the body and neck of a bottle or vase.
7. The area of an item or object that serves as an abutment or surrounds a projection, as:
a. The end surface of a board from which a tenon projects.
b. Printing The flat surface on the body of type that extends beyond the letter or character.
8. The edge or border running on either side of a roadway.
v. shoul·dered, shoul·der·ing, shoul·ders
1. To carry or place (a burden, for example) on a shoulder or on the shoulders.
2. To take on; assume: shouldered the blame for his friends.
3. To push or apply force to with a shoulder: shouldered the dresser against the wall.
4. To make (one's way) by shoving one's shoulders.
1. To push with a shoulder.
2. To make one's way by shoving one's shoulders.
put (one's) shoulder to the wheel
To apply oneself vigorously; make a concentrated effort.
shoulder to shoulder
1. In close proximity; side by side.
2. In close cooperation.
straight from the shoulder
1. Delivered directly from the shoulder. Used of a punch.
2. Honestly; candidly.
[Middle English shulder, from Old English sculdor.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus