butterflies in one's stomach

butterflies in (one's) stomach

A feeling of nervousness. The butterflies in my stomach almost kept me from going on stage and performing.
See also: butterfly, stomach

butterflies in one's stomach

Fluttering sensations caused by a feeling of nervous anticipation. For example, I always get butterflies in my stomach before making a speech. This term likens a nervous feeling to that resulting from swallowing live butterflies that fly about inside one. [c. 1900]
See also: butterfly, stomach