like a deer in (the) headlights

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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
References in periodicals archive ?
One chocolate Labrador mix, with moose ears and a Santa hat, looked like a deer in headlights upon Santa's lap.