Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

shoulder - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] shoulder pronunciation in British English /ˈʃəʊldə(r)/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleshouldering
past tenseshouldered
past participleshouldered
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to deal with or accept something difficult

    The government cannot ask the public to shoulder the extra cost.

    shoulder a responsibility/burden:

    Companies can’t keep shouldering the burdens imposed by central government.

  2. 2
    to lift or carry something on your shoulder
  3. 3
    to push someone with your shoulder

    He managed to shoulder his sister out of the way.

    1. a.
      to get somewhere by pushing people with your shoulders

      She had to shoulder her way through the crowd.



a title used before a man or woman's name as a gender-neutral alternative to Mr, Ms, etc

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


another way of saying congratulations, or that something/someone looks nice or fascinating

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play