Definition of cold-call in English:


(also cold call)

Pronunciation /ˈkōl(d) ˌkôl/ /ˈkoʊl(d) ˌkɔl/

transitive verb

[with object]
  • Make an unsolicited call on (someone), by phone or in person, in an attempt to sell goods or services.

    as noun cold-calling ‘severe new regulations against cold-calling’
    • ‘The elderly, their families and neighbours have been warned to close the door or hang up the phone on a firm cold-calling customers in South Lakeland and trying to sell fire alarms.’
    • ‘Staff from the Stockholm Environment Centre cold-called families picked from the electoral register, then visited those who said they might be interested.’
    • ‘Police believe the company is targeting the elderly and vulnerable by offering to do a safety check after cold-calling customers.’
    • ‘They are given a script which they learn, then cold-call prospective clients whom they invite to a 45 minute presentation at the office.’
    • ‘Since Canterbury doesn't have the equipment for cutting-edge research, Glass cold-calls prestigious scientists to hook students up with labs at the likes of Harvard, MIT, and NASA.’
    • ‘Out of nowhere they basically cold-called us, and said they're interested in putting out our next record.’
    • ‘Also, whenever you're cold-called by law enforcement, you should request their contact information and ring them back to verify that they're legitimate.’
    • ‘When Stewart was trying to make a name for himself on minor racing circuits, he often cold-called team owners and sought rides.’
    • ‘The salespeople cold-call potential customers from massive calling lists, often taken from public records, including shareholders' registers.’
    • ‘This ‘no lose’ opportunity was sold to small businesses by telesales teams and salesmen cold-calling businesses and delivering what trading standards officers described as a very high-pressure sales pitch.’
    • ‘Council trading standards manager Elizabeth Levett said the fraudsters cold-call businesses and claim an attempt has been made to register their business name.’
    • ‘In May, we reported how telesales scammers from the Amerisuites Vacation Club were cold-calling UK homeowners.’
    • ‘There she was given a lengthy test, shown to a desk with a phone, and told to start cold-calling companies in search of a job.’
    • ‘What proportion of your advertising budget does your current agency think you should be spending on cold-calling each year?’
    • ‘Now small business operators and the self-employed are being cold-called by internet fraudsters, claiming to be domain operators, who say that they have been contacted by a third party who wants to register your, or your company's, name.’
    • ‘Having been cold-called by a salesman he raised various points during three or four telephone calls before completing the booking form, with a slight amendment, he told the court.’
    • ‘I cold-called my way through the phone book searching for people naive enough to allow the company's salesmen into their homes.’
    • ‘Legitimate marketing companies do exist, but to reduce the risks of falling for cold-call scams we offer businesses the following advice.’
    • ‘I would cold-call small businesses and ask them if they would like to advertise in the magazine.’
    • ‘Sophisticated computers at MKD's cold-call centres can dial hundreds of numbers at the same time.’


  • An unsolicited visit or phone call made by someone trying to sell goods or services.

    ‘the salesmen spend most of their time making cold calls on perfect strangers’
    • ‘In addition, I've had five new comment spams since yesterday evening, countless email spams, a bunch of junk mail and a couple of telephone cold calls.’
    • ‘I was in no mood for cold calls to unfriendly strangers who would resent my intrusion into their lives.’
    • ‘At other times, making cold calls is certainly not beneath me.’
    • ‘After 2 years of effort, including research, cold calls, door to door sales, and a prototype, she got her first distribution contract with Neiman Marcus and a spotlight on the Oprah Winfrey Show.’
    • ‘Supt Dave Coutts, who as head of public access is responsible for the call centres, said today that, while some complained, the cold calls received a ‘generally positive response’ from people.’
    • ‘And when I say ‘helping’ I mean instigating a gruelling schedule of CV rewrites, cold calls to recruitment agencies and hours spent in dank internet cafes.’
    • ‘You know, years ago when I was an Episcopalian, another member of the church used the church directory as a marketing tool for his small business, and started making cold calls using it.’
    • ‘It was so boring and lonely sitting making cold calls to potential clients all day.’
    • ‘I can't believe so many charities blatantly ignore common courtesy when it comes to cold calls.’
    • ‘The Liberal Democrat candidate for Tooting has raised the issue of unwanted phone calls from political canvassers, claiming hers was the only party that avoided intrusive cold calls.’
    • ‘It may seem hard to believe people will fall for cold calls urging them to make split-second investment decisions involving thousands of dollars.’
    • ‘Even though they know it makes me uncomfortable - even though it wasn't in my job description - I have just been given MORE cold calls to make.’
    • ‘Staff leaving straight after a training programme, nonsense faxes and cold calls from energy companies are the top three annoyances for small business in Bolton.’
    • ‘They had to depend on sheer initiative and elbow grease, working crazy hours and making cold calls to jumpstart the business.’
    • ‘People receive the holiday offers via scratch cards, text messages, cold calls and direct mail.’
    • ‘If you receive a cold call or know of someone who has been targeted, call the trading standards consumer advice line on 0845-600-1352 for advice.’
    • ‘Mr Heath said: ‘It started off with a cold call from a lady from Telco.’’
    • ‘We are trying to track down the people who sold Mrs Cooper the security system; we know that it was bought as a result of a cold call.’
    • ‘‘I made cold calls,’ he says, ‘hundreds and hundreds of them a day.’’
    • ‘The conventional wisdom is that a very small number of cold calls work out.’