afraid of (one's) own shadow

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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

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

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

afraid of one's own shadow

Extremely timid, excessively fearful. In Richard III (ca. 1513), Sir Thomas More wrote, “Who may lette her feare her owne shadowe,” although a few years later Erasmus cited Plato as having said the same thing in Greek hundreds of years before. Henry David Thoreau used the phrase to describe the timidity of Concord’s town selectmen in refusing to toll the parish bell at John Brown’s hanging (1859), and by then it had been in use for at least two centuries.
See also: afraid, of, own, shadow
References in periodicals archive ?
We are a nation and a people afraid of our own shadow. That's why now is the time for some serious ambition and proper leadership from our national public service broadcaster.
"We are afraid of our own shadow. What will happen if the gates of the Mount are opened?
We all didn't get this far by being afraid of our own shadow. When the country needs it, we ought to all step up."
"We cannot be afraid of our own shadow. Let's defend what we have to defend," added Pervenche Beres (PES, France), expressing concern over the lack of a clause between Title III on competences, contained in the first part of the Treaty, and the definition of policies that will be covered by the second part.