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 ?
Sometimes their eyes get real big, like a deer in the headlights, like they don't know what hit them.
There's your brother on the other end going for it, doing his Mick Jagger, and you are like a deer in the headlights.
Small businesses no longer need to feel like a deer in the headlights when considering constructing or updating their Web sites.