Cold Comfort

Meaning of Idiom ‘Cold Comfort’

When something is said to be cold comfort, it is little or no consolation at all. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.,3Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.

Usage

“The severance package was cold comfort after having worked for the company for twenty years.”

“I know it’s cold comfort,” said Fran, “but Millie isn’t doing so well either.”

Origin

Here, cold is used in the sense of “unemotional.” Cold has been used to juxtapose comfort in this way since the 1300’s, and Shakespeare used the idiom often.  4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

The expression may be familiar to some from a 1933 parody novel by Stella Gibbons, “Cold Comfort Farm.” 5Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.

More Idioms Starting with C

More Dime Idioms

More Dozen Idioms

More Money Related Idioms

This page contains one or more affiliate links. See full affiliate disclosure.

Sources   [ + ]

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
3. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
5. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.