in a cold sweat

Slang Dictionary

in a cold sweat definition


  1. mod.
    in a state of fear. : He stood there in a cold sweat, waiting for something to happen.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

in a cold sweat

Feeling nervous or terrified, as in When I looked over the cliff, I broke out in a cold sweat. This expression refers to perspiring accompanied by a feeling of cold, which can be induced by acute fear as well as by fever. [Late 1700s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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