for example a quote from the haunted house: a high-shouldered young fellow.


I would suggest giving the entire sentence (or more) so that we have a better context.

I think, possibly, that "high-shouldered" may mean someone who stands tall out of pride, arrogance, or genuine self confidence. But with only "a high-shouldered young fellow" to go on, it's difficult, since it is a rather uncommon gorup of words to use in reference to people.


The usage refers to the broad and high neck of a body-building power athlete with a prototypical V body shape.

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    I don't think that's quite right. There are two citations in OED for high-shouldered - in one the target being described is tall, thin, in the other little, vulgar. Neither are at all suggestive of an athletic physique. OED simply gives those usage instances without further clarification, but I'd guess it's more a reference to the kind of "stiff, haughty bearing" that might be associated with a high-shouldered bow (very formal - keeping the upper torso straight, and bending from the waist). Nov 3 '13 at 20:30

It doesn't currently mean anything particular in the English language. A common phrase is broad shouldered which refers to an athletic build common among professional sports such as American football or boxing:

broad-shouldered — having broad shoulders; "big-shouldered and heavy-armed"

It seems likely that "high-shouldered" means something similar but the only way to know is to ask the author or writer who used the phrase what they meant.

Other potentially relevant idioms:

  • chip on your shoulder — holding a grudge or grievance that readily provokes disputation.
  • highbrow — elite, and generally carries a connotation of high culture.

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