cold feet, get

Idioms & Phrases

cold feet, get

Also, have cold feet. Retreat from an undertaking; lose one's nerve. For example, I got cold feet when I learned the trip involves white-water rafting, or Don't count on including hershe's been known to have cold feet in the past. The origin of this term has been lost. In early 17th-century Italy it meant to be short of money, but that sense has never been used in English. [Late 1800s]

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