From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishshouldershoul‧der1 /ˈʃəʊldə $ ˈʃoʊldər/ ●●● S2 W2 noun 1 body partHBH [countable] one of the two parts of the body at each side of the neck where the arm is connected She tapped the driver on the shoulder. He put his arm around her shoulders. His shoulders were broad and powerful.2 clothesDCC [countable] the part of a piece of clothing that covers your shoulders a jacket with padded shoulders3 meatDF [countable, uncountable] the upper part of the front leg of an animal that is used for meatshoulder of a shoulder of pork4 → be looking over your shoulder5 a) a shoulder to cry onKIND someone who gives you sympathy Ben is always there when I need a shoulder to cry on. b) cry on somebody’s shoulder to get sympathy from someone when you tell them your problems6 → shoulder to shoulder7 → on somebody’s shoulders8 → put your shoulder to the wheel9 road-side [countable] American EnglishTTR an area of ground beside a road, where drivers can stop their cars if they are having trouble → hard shoulder, soft shoulder10 curved shapeSG [countable] a rounded part just below the top of something → give somebody the cold shoulder at cold1(7), → have a chip on your shoulder at chip1(5), → be/stand head and shoulders above the rest at head1(29), → rub shoulders with at rub1(5), → straight from the shoulder at straight1(10)COLLOCATIONSverbsshrug your shoulders (=raise them to show that you do not know or care about something)Susan just shrugged her shoulders and said nothing.hunch your shoulders (=raise your shoulders and bend them forwards slightly)He hunched his shoulders against the rain.look/glance over your shoulder (=look behind you)He glanced over his shoulder and grinned at me.somebody’s shoulders shake (=because they are crying or laughing)His shoulders were shaking and tears of laughter were running down his face.somebody’s shoulders slump/droop/sag (=move downwards because they are sad or tired)‘You 're right, ’ he sighed, his shoulders drooping.somebody’s shoulders heave (=move up and down because they are crying or breathing deeply)She turned her back again, her shoulders heaving, her eyes blind with tears.straighten/square your shoulders (=stand with your shoulders straight, in a determined way)She squared her shoulders and knocked on the door.adjectivesbroad/wideHe was of medium height, with broad shoulders.strong/powerfulHe had powerful shoulders and a thick neck.massive/hugeDean shrugged his massive shoulders.narrow/slimHer dark hair spilled over her narrow shoulders.thin/bony shouldersShe put her arm around the girl’s thin shoulders.
Examples from the Corpusshoulder• Its dripping wets the front of her dress, its rigid head glares over her shoulder.• He looked as though he'd lost twenty years, as though a ten-ton weight had been lifted from his shoulders.• Lorton was carrying a bag over his shoulder and humming under his breath.• Corbett just grinned over his shoulder and led them out on to the beaten track down to the village of Woodstock.• I drop her across my shoulder and walk away.• Our shoulders, arms and legs ache, but we hardly notice.• a pork shoulder roast• He pulled the chain that hung above his right shoulder.• Fredrickson dislocated his right shoulder early in the second quarter and did not return to the game.• Ben put his arm around Kari's shoulders.• Several cars with their hoods up were on the shoulder.shouldershoulder2 verb 1 → shoulder the responsibility/duty/cost/burden etc2 [transitive]LIFT to lift something onto your shoulder to carry it They shouldered the boat and took it down to the river.3 → shoulder your way through/into etc4 → shoulder armsCOLLOCATIONSnounsshoulder a responsibilityThe coach shoulders the responsibility for winning and losing.shoulder a burdenMany women do paid work and also shoulder the burden of childcare.shoulder the blameParents are being made to shoulder the blame.shoulder the costThe government has decided to shoulder the extra cost itself. → See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusshoulder• Family graves may occasionally receive a visit by a lone person shouldering a glum aura.• He shouldered his ax and began walking into the woods.• Dorfman plays keyboards -- an injury preventing him from shouldering his usual accordion.• The burden of supporting the poor is shouldered mainly by charities.• After the publicists, casting directors began to shoulder the burden.• The company is unwilling to shoulder the cost of installing a daycare center.• The capacity of the fourteen divisions to shoulder this responsibility, and the load placed on each division both varied enormously.Origin shoulder1 Old English sculdor