in a cold sweat

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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