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chicken out (of something)
Inf. to manage to get out of something, usually because of fear or cowardice. Come on! Don't chicken out now! Freddy chickened out of the plan at the last minute.
Back out from fear, lose one's nerve, as in In the end I chickened out and took the easier route down the mountain. Chicken is a popular synonym for "cowardly," a usage arising in the 1600s and 1700s but then apparently abandoned until the 20th century. [Slang; c. 1930]
To decide not to do or complete an activity due to fear: My friends dared me to jump into the pond, but I chickened out and climbed down from the tree.