Cold comfort


      • to offer little consolation or comfort in a difficult or disappointing situation
        To acknowledge someone's struggle or disappointment, but also to imply that it is unlikely to improve or be resolved in a meaningful way.

      • to provide only a small amount of relief or satisfaction in a difficult or unpleasant situation
        To express that something may bring temporary relief or satisfaction, but ultimately does not address the root issue or provide long-term comfort.

      • to be of little help or support in a challenging or troubling situation
        To convey that something may offer some assistance or support, but ultimately falls short in providing meaningful help or relief.

    Examples of Cold comfort


      The idiomatic phrase "cold comfort" is used to express a situation or thing that may bring some relief or consolation, but ultimately falls short in providing true comfort or support. It conveys a sense of disappointment or resignation, acknowledging that the situation is not ideal and may not improve. It can also carry a sense of skepticism, implying that the thing being offered as comfort may not be as helpful as it seems.

      The phrase can be used in a variety of contexts, from expressing sympathy to someone who is struggling, to acknowledging a small positive aspect in a difficult situation. It can also be used in a more literal sense, such as describing a cold room or a cold meal, but this is less common.

      Origin of "Cold comfort"

      The origin of the idiom "cold comfort" is believed to come from the Middle Ages, when the term "cold" was often used to describe something that was lacking in warmth or emotion. The word "comfort" in this context refers to something that provides solace or relief from discomfort or distress. Therefore, "cold comfort" was originally used to describe something that may seem comforting at first, but ultimately lacks the warmth or depth needed to truly provide comfort.

      Over time, the phrase became more widely used and evolved to take on its current meaning of offering little consolation or support in a difficult situation. It is now a commonly used idiom in English, and can be found in various forms such as "small comfort" or "cold comfort indeed".