Despite current usage, the phrase does not have a romantic origin. In fact, the shoulder in “cold shoulder” is actually a shoulder of mutton!
In the early nineteenth century, when the phrase was first recorded by Sir Walter Scott, it was customary for a hostess to serve hot meat to visitors who were welcomed and cold meat to those who had overstayed their welcome. Since the cold meat given to the unwanted guest was usually a shoulder of mutton, the hostess was said to be “giving him the cold shoulder” of mutton, that is.
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