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The word cold-call came into popular use in the 1970s as a business term. We will examine the meaning of the term cold-call, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A cold-call is a solicitation made by a salesman to a customer who has not had any contact with the salesman before. A cold-call is an attempt to sell goods or services to a client who has not previously contacted the salesman or shown any interest in the product. Cold-call is used as a noun or a verb, related words are cold-calls, cold-called, cold-calling, cold-caller. The term cold-call became popular in the 1970s, and most probably is a reference to the prospective customer not being “hot”, or primed to buy the goods or services. Someone who is the object of a cold-call must be introduced to the salesman’s product and be persuaded to buy it. The Oxford English Dictionary lists the word cold-call with a hyphen, though it is often rendered as two words, as in cold call.


Mike Birch, TPR’s Director of Case Management, said: “Cold-calling pension holders isn’t illegal yet, but no reputable business does it.” (The Actuarial Post)

The moment officers stormed a mansion as they arrested a man accused of scamming $2.2 million dollars from investors in a cold call scheme has been released by police.  (The Daily Mail)

Peter Foster, 55, of The Birches, Bury St Edmunds, had been jailed for six months by Norwich Crown Court in October 2013 and given a five year Court Order not to cold call seeking house maintenance work, but on February 15 he pleaded guilty at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court, Cornwall, to breaching the order. (The Bury Free Press)