have cold feet

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have cold feet

To experience nervousness or anxiety before one attempts to do something, often to the extent that one tries to avoid it. I wasn't nervous until the morning of my wedding, but everyone assured me that I just had cold feet. Good luck getting her out on stage—she always has cold feet before a performance.
See also: cold, feet, have
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

get/have cold ˈfeet

(informal) no longer want to continue what you intended or have started to do because you are nervous or afraid: Do you still want to do this parachute jump or are you getting cold feet? OPPOSITE: take the plunge
See also: cold, feet, get, have
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.
See also: cold, get, have
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Having cold feet is understandable; ghosting an employer is unacceptable," says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half.
Shelton reportedly admitted to having cold feet, given his history with the institution of marriage, according to the false story.
That meeting was called because she worried that they were having cold feet.
Hannah wonders if Jim may still have feelings for Liz when he begins having cold feet about their efforts to con her out of her money, while Steve is secretly relieved that the castle Tracy wanted to get married in has burned down.
In this wonderful tripartite tale of two unlikely friends, Yak and Dove muse about what life might be like if they were twins, from wearing matching clothes to simultaneously having cold feet. However, their thoughts eventually turn to how they are different in many ways, and soon they become highly critical of one another, until their friendship seems irreversibly broken.
With a plummeting popularity, Republican Party and Donald Trump may be having cold feet this Christmas.
At the Platts', Gail is tired of having cold feet in her room, so she asks Jason to give her a quote for underfloor heating.
And now on the morning of Gillian and Robbie's marriage, the bride is having cold feet. The groom's having a strong drink.
Meanwhile, Laurel is also having cold feet, even more so when she notices that Marlon has been watching a video featuring his ex, the recently deceased Donna.
The product helps to prevent the discomfort and potential onset of illnesses that can come from having cold feet by insuring that the feet are at a proper temperature.
Triple 5, the Canadian investment giant and mall operator whose promises to the Cypriot government have yet to materialise, is now having cold feet over its supposed investment in troubled national carrier, Cyprus Airways.
New York, June 15 ( ANI ): Lindsay Lohan is having cold feet about doing nude scenes in the new movie 'The Canyons'.
CHELTENHAM was looking likely to be off Riverside Theatre's agenda this year but Nicky Henderson may be having cold feet over his preference for Aintree after the King George runner-up claimed an impressive victory yesterday that helped reignite his trainer's challenge for the trainers' championship.
A loan deal has been agreed with Juventus but it appears the Croatia defender is having cold feet.