Shrug off

Dimme

Senior Member
Greek
Hi there. Please, can you tell me what "shrug it off" means"? Example:"He insulted you and you just shrug him off". Thank you.
 
  • winebar

    Banned
    England, English
    Shrug, derives from shrugging your shoulders (lifting your shouldlers up).

    Shrug it off- means to be passive about a subject, i.e. not care about it.
    If you were to shrug off a person, it would mean that you didn't bother with them (you didn't care about them).
     

    Dimme

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Thank you so much. You know, I always believe that to learn a language you have to go there, where this language is spoken!
     

    xebonyx

    Senior Member
    TR/AR/EN
    I must admit though, I've never heard of someone "shrugging off" a living thing. If such usage exists, the more common one is (undoubtedly) when you refer to an emotion upon hearing about something (ie. commentary).
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I agree, Xebonyx, it does sound a bit unusual ~ still perfectly understandable, though.

    He insulted you and you just shrugged it off [it = the insult, or the fact that he insulted you]

    would sound more idiomatic to me.
     

    Teafrog

    Senior Member
    UK English (& rusty French…)
    Mmh, I think you can shrug off 'living things', such as to shake off or brush off a human or an animal: I shrugged of that clinging cat :p (OK, make that an insect, then :D).
    Or, you can dismiss as unimportant someone, something or an idea, to name but a few; check this out.
    Of course, as Winebar said, your can be passive and unaffected by someone/something.
     

    xebonyx

    Senior Member
    TR/AR/EN
    Mmh, I think you can shrug off 'living things', such as to shake off or brush off a human or an animal: I shrugged of that clinging cat :p (OK, make that an insect, then :D).
    I still disagree completely with this assertion. As I said before, this only applies to things abstract, ie. an idea, an instance, and the like.

    Or, you can dismiss as unimportant someone, something or an idea, to name but a few; check this out.
    Of course, as Winebar said, your can be passive and unaffected by someone/something.
    Even the link you provided further proves my point. There's no indication that it can be used towards living things. "It" will only refer to a concept--like the fear of a bug, not a bug itself.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    If someone comes up to you and places their hand on your shoulder, wanting you to come with them maybe, and you aren't interested or simply don't want to go, you can literally shrug them away with a shift of your shoulder.

    I would describe that as:

    He shrugged him off, saying, "I'm not interested. Go away."

    So I can see where in some instances you can take it literally.

    AngelEyes
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I suspect that "shrug someone off" would have to be literal (move so as to remove part of a person's anatomy from your shoulder).

    Whereas "shrug something off" could be literal (move so as to remove something from your shoulder) or metaphorical (minimise the importance of).

    "It" is definitely better than "him" in Dimme's (metaphorical) sentence:)
     

    Teafrog

    Senior Member
    UK English (& rusty French…)
    I suspect that "shrug someone off" would have to be literal (move so as to remove part of a person's anatomy from your shoulder).

    Whereas "shrug something off" could be literal (move so as to remove something from your shoulder) or metaphorical (minimise the importance of).

    "It" is definitely better than "him" in Dimme's (metaphorical) sentence:)
    I agree, "it" would be better in the original phrase, since it refers to an insult (i.e. a "concept--like" notion).
    In my previous post I merely wanted to explain the various possible uses of shrug. When used with a living 'thing', it could be seen, indeed, as synonymous to "brush off".
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I agree, "it" would be better in the original phrase, since it refers to an insult (i.e. a "concept--like" notion).
    In my previous post I merely wanted to explain the various possible uses of shrug. When used with a living 'thing', it could be seen, indeed, as synonymous to "brush off".
    On Google are plenty of examples that show it is indeed used this way, including this sad instance:

    As they entered the lobby a dark-haired woman bounded over to one of [the seven pilots], handed him a piece of paper and wished him a happy New Year. The woman was his wife; the paper was a summons charging him with desertion. He shrugged her off, explained that he had divorced her and remarried. SOURCE
     

    brucezhou

    Member
    Chinese
    This is a sentence from Economist.

    In much of the world there is little sign of crisis. German and Brazilian papers have shrugged off the recession. Even American newspapers, which inhabit the most troubled corner of the global industry, have not only survived but often returned to profit.

    What does shrug off mean in this context? Does it mean to treat sth as if it is not important or to get rid of? Thank you
     
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