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Nervousness or anxiety felt before one attempts to do something. I wasn't nervous until the morning of my wedding, but everyone assured me that it was just cold feet. Good luck getting her out on stage—she always gets cold feet before a performance.
Fig. fear of doing something; cowardice at the moment of action. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) The bridegroom got cold feet on the day of the wedding. Sally said I should try skydiving, but I had cold feet.
cold feetloss of nerve or confidence.
n. a wave of timidity or fearfulness. Suddenly I had cold feet and couldn’t sing a note.
cold feet, to get/have
To be timid; to back off from some undertaking. This expression appears to date from the nineteenth century, at least in its present meaning. In the early seventeenth century it was an Italian proverb that meant to have no money; it was so used by Ben Jonson in his play Volpone. The source of the more recent meaning is obscure. Some believe it comes from soldiers retreating in battle because their feet are frozen. Another source cites a German novel of 1862 in which a card player withdraws from a game because, he claims, his feet are cold.