rooted to the spot

*rooted to the spot

Fig. unable to move because of fear or surprise. (*Typically: appear to be ~; be ~;become ~.) Jane stood rooted to the spot when she saw the ghostly figure. Mary stood rooted to the spot when the thief snatched her bag.
See also: root, spot

rooted to the spot

not able to move Mary was afraid and wanted to run away, but she was rooted to the spot and watched as the building collapsed.
See also: root, spot

rooted to the spot

Not moving, especially owing to some strong emotion. For example, When the truck bore down on the dog, he was terrified and stood rooted to the spot. This idiom likens the roots of a plant to a strong feeling that keeps one from moving.
See also: root, spot
References in classic literature ?
As soon as I opened the door the sight of him so terrified me that I stood rooted to the spot, and could feel myself turning pale.
I stood rooted to the spot, with my face turned toward the moonlight streaming in at the open door.
The dervish said no more and left me, speechless with shame and confusion, and so wretched that I stood rooted to the spot, while he collected the eighty camels and proceeded on his way to Balsora.
The instant she turned to thank me, I stood rooted to the spot.
Momaya, wide-eyed, stood rooted to the spot, watching, fascinated.
I trembled from head to foot; I felt a presentiment of who it was and wished to rouse one of the peasants who dwelt in a cottage not far from mine; but I was overcome by the sensation of helplessness, so often felt in frightful dreams, when you in vain endeavour to fly from an impending danger, and was rooted to the spot.
She heard a cry of warning behind her, but, rooted to the spot by a fearful fascination, she heeded it not.
Deafened by the noise, stifled, choked, and blinded by the dust, they hid their faces and stood rooted to the spot.
Dick glanced upward at him, but without any token of recognition; and long after he had disappeared, still stood gazing upon Miss Sally Brass, seeing or thinking of nothing else, and rooted to the spot.
At the first step she checked herself; rooted to the spot, under a sudden revulsion of feeling which quieted her in an instant.
Poor Mrs Nickleby, who had listened in a state of enviable complacency at first, became at length quite overpowered by these tokens of regard for, and attachment to, the family; and even the servant girl, who had peeped in at the door, remained rooted to the spot in astonishment at the ecstasies of the two friendly visitors.
Gabriel started up, and stood rooted to the spot with astonishment and terror; for his eyes rested on a form that made his blood run cold.
He made tentative efforts to go, but seemed awkwardly rooted to the spot.
And it seemed to him all at once that he was turned to stone, that it was like a dream in which one is being pursued, nearly caught and will be killed, and is rooted to the spot and cannot even move one's arms.
Wilfred Bohun stood rooted to the spot long enough to see the idiot go out into the sunshine, and even to see his dissolute brother hail him with a sort of avuncular jocularity.