the willies

willies

[wil-eez]
noun (used with a plural verb) Informal.
nervousness or fright; jitters; creeps (usually preceded by the ): That horror movie gave me the willies.

Origin:
1895–1900, Americanism; origin obscure; cf. -s3

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willies (ˈwɪlɪz)
 
pl n
slang the willies nervousness, jitters, or fright (esp in the phrase give (orget) the willies)
 
[C20: of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

willies
1896, "spell of nervousness," perhaps from the woollies, a dialectal term for "nervous uneasiness," probably in reference to the itchiness of wool garments.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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