headlight

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like a deer in (the) headlights

In a state or manner of paralyzing surprise, fear, or bewilderment. Likened to the tendency of deer to freeze in place in front of an oncoming vehicle. When she asked me to marry her, I could only stand there like a deer in headlights. He froze like a deer in the headlights when I caught him taking money out of the register.
See also: deer, headlight, like

deer-in-headlights

(Used before a noun.) Of a paralyzed manner or appearance, as due to surprise, fear, shock, or bewilderment. Likened to the tendency of deer to freeze in place in front of an oncoming vehicle. He had this dopey deer-in-headlights look on his face when I asked him where the money had gone.

deer in the headlights

Someone caught in a state of paralyzing surprise, fear, or bewilderment. Likened to the tendency of deer to freeze in place in front of an oncoming vehicle. Often used in the phrase "like a deer in the headlights." Mary turned into a deer in the headlights when she forgot her lines in the middle of the play. He froze like a deer in the headlights when I caught him taking money out of the register. When she asked me to marry her, I could only stand there like a deer in the headlights.
See also: deer, headlight

be like a deer caught in the headlights

To be visibly startled and frozen in fear. I was like a deer caught in the headlights when my mom asked about that hideous sweater she gave me. When the security alarm started blaring, the burglar was like a deer caught in the headlights.
See also: caught, deer, headlight, like

like a rabbit caught in the headlights

or

like a deer caught in the headlights

If someone is like a rabbit caught in the headlights or like a deer caught in the headlights, they are so frightened or nervous that they do not know what to do. He just sat there, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Diane fixes me with her cold, blue eyes: I am the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. Note: This expression is very variable. For example, you can just say that someone is caught or frozen in the headlights. He was caught in the headlights as he attempted to answer a string of questions about his relationship. The best thing for a writer caught in the headlights of unexpected celebrity is simply to keep writing and publishing. Note: Animals such as rabbits or deer sometimes remain still because they do not know which way to run when the light from a vehicle's headlights shines on them at night.

(be caught/freeze like) a deer in the ˈheadlights

(also (be caught like) a rabbit in the ˈheadlights) used to describe somebody who appears so frightened that they cannot think clearly and do not know what to do or say: The senator was caught like a deer in the headlights in a TV interview.a deer-in-the-headlights look
See also: deer, headlight
References in periodicals archive ?
Activate your headlights during intercity travel, especially on two lane highways, but also on freeways - regardless of weather conditions or visibility.
Recent developments in headlight technology have led to xenon high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps to a growing number of vehicles.
Automotive News has reported, citing IIHS research chief, David Zuby, 'We've studied all of these different innovations to the extent we're able, and the strongest signal we get back from the data is that the steerable headlights are associated with the largest reductions of crashes reported to insurers.
The simplicity of this will hopefully remind motorist to turn their headlights on when their wipers are on,'' said John Paul, spokesman for AAA of Southern New England.
The programmable headlight senses and tracks virtually any number of oncoming drivers, blacking out only the small parts of the headlight beam that would otherwise shine into their eyes.
Potential licensees in the automotive products industry are currently being targeted as candidates to eventually commercialize the Smart Headlights on a worldwide basis.
heavy rain, headlights make it harder to see, not easier.
May I respectfully suggest that DVtakes the time to perhaps brush up on the current edition of the Garston Highway Code, and perhaps invest in some refresher driving lessons to improve their standard of driving, particularly if they feel intimidated by the headlights on motorcycles and cars.
Studies in Canada and Sweden have shown using headlights during the day can reduce deaths by up to 10.
Adaptive headlights are another aid for night driving," said research director Larry Fisher.
Preparation for the report, which was to highlight high intensity discharge (HID) headlights, included an interview with optometrist Geoff Roberson completed earlier this month and was expected to be broadcast on April 20 this week.
It is astonishing how many drivers do not use headlights when it is obviously necessary.
The mirrors and headlights get splattered with mud during missions, so it's up to you to clean them off after every operation.
The strobe headlights are a good idea, but we cannot trust these passive features to help us to be seen.