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be afraid of (one's) (own) shadow

To be easily or constantly spooked, nervous, timid, afraid, or fearfully suspicious. I can't say I have much faith in Johnny helping us on this expedition—that boy's afraid of his own shadow! You can't live life being afraid of your shadow—you need to get out into the world and taste adventure!
See also: afraid, of, shadow

(I'm) (a)fraid not

A response used to reluctantly decline an invitation or politely answer a question in the negative, indicating regret that the answer is "no." When the phrase is abbreviated to "'fraid not," an apostrophe is sometimes used in place of the missing letter. A: "Will you be able to attend the meeting tomorrow?" B: "I'm afraid not. I'm going to be out of town." A: "Could you loan me a hundred bucks?" B: "'Fraid not. I'm broke."
See also: not

afraid of (one's) own shadow

Easily scared; jumpy; timid. Everyone was surprised that Janice led the meeting with confidence, as she normally seems afraid of her own shadow. Please don't take my sister to a haunted house on Halloween—she's afraid of her own shadow.
See also: afraid, of, own, shadow

(I'm) (a)fraid so

A response used to politely answer a question in the affirmative when the speaker regrets that this is the case. When the phrase is abbreviated to "'fraid so," an apostrophe is sometimes used in place of the missing letter. A: "Are you really moving all the way across the country?" B: "I'm afraid so." A: "Are you going to be working late again tonight?" B: "'Fraid so."

afraid of one's own shadow

Fig. easily frightened; always frightened, timid, or suspicious. (An exaggeration.) After Tom was robbed, he was even afraid of his own shadow.
See also: afraid, of, own, shadow

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.

Prov. Sometimes it is more dangerous to stop doing a dangerous thing than it is to continue doing it. Jill: You shouldn't take out another loan. You're already too far in debt. Jane: If I don't take out a loan, I can't make the payments on the loans I already have. You know how it is—she who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.
See also: afraid, dismount, he, ride, tiger, who

(I'm) afraid not.

 and 'Fraid not.
I believe, regrettably, that the answer is no. (The apostrophe is not always shown.) Rachel: Can I expect any help with this problem? Henry: I'm afraid not. Andrew: Will you be there when I get there? Bill: Afraid not.
See also: afraid, not

(I'm) afraid so.

 and 'Fraid so.
I believe, regrettably, that the answer is yes. (The apostrophe is not always shown.) Alice: Do you have to go? John: Afraid so. Rachel: Can I expect some difficulty with Mr. Franklin? Bob: I'm afraid so.
See also: afraid

afraid of one's own shadow

Very timid and fearful, as in Richard constantly worries about security; he's afraid of his own shadow. This hyperbole has been used in English since the early 1500s, and some writers believe it originated in ancient Greece.
See also: afraid, of, own, shadow

afraid of your own shadow

If someone is afraid of their own shadow, they are very nervous and shy. She's afraid of everything these days — afraid of her own shadow. Note: Adjectives such as scared or frightened can be used instead of afraid. He used to be scared of his own shadow as a little boy.
See also: afraid, of, own, shadow

afraid of (or frightened of) your own shadow

unreasonably timid or nervous.
See also: afraid, of, own, shadow

I’m afraid (that)...

(spoken) used as a polite way of telling somebody something that is unpleasant or disappointing, or something that you are sorry about: I’m afraid I can’t come to your party.‘Have you got change for ten pounds?’ ‘I’m afraid not.’I’ve got some bad news, I’m afraid.‘Is this the best you can do?’ ‘I’m afraid so.’
References in classic literature ?
After he had waited there some time, he sold the sack of flour for a very good price, and then he returned home at once, for he was afraid that if he stopped too late he might meet some robbers on the way.
But I am afraid I shall never have such beautiful ideas as you have.
Poor little Hans was afraid to say anything to this, and early the next morning the Miller brought his sheep round to the cottage, and Hans started off with them to the mountain.
When I reached London I did hear how my sister died, but still I was afraid.
She who used to wring her hands if her daughter was gone for a moment never asked for her again, they were afraid to mention her name; an awe fell upon them.
At first this little damsel was afraid of Maimie, who most kindly went to her aid, but soon she sat in her hand chatting gaily and explaining that her name was Brownie, and that though only a poor street singer she was on her way to the ball to see if the Duke would have her.
If you're afraid," added the Story Girl with delicate scorn, "of course you needn't come.
But it seems as if part of me was buried over there in that little harbor graveyard-- and it hurts so much that I'm afraid of life.
The people are either fast asleep, or probably, as this is a lonely place, are afraid to open their door.
He keeps no company with anybody, and seldom walks out but by night, for he doth not care to be seen; and all the country people are as much afraid of meeting him; for his dress is enough to frighten those who are not used to it.
I was afraid your worship would have been angry with me for letting him in; and to be certain I should not have done it, had not I seen by the moon-light, that he was a gentleman, and almost frozen to death.
It was also serious, for I learned that he was capable of using it, that under all his cowardice there was a courage of cowardice, like mine, that would impel him to do the very thing his whole nature protested against doing and was afraid of doing.
I was afraid to turn my shoulder to him, and when I left the galley I went out backwards--to the amusement of the sailors and hunters, who made a point of gathering in groups to witness my exit.
He talked of this, and passionately longed to hear more of Kitty, and, at the same time, was afraid of hearing it.
They were afraid of you - the aristocrats, and they bought you.