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(as) nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs
Extremely nervous. (The cat's long tail would be in danger of getting caught under a swaying rocking chair.) I was nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs as I waited for them to announce the winner.
be frightened 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 frightened of his own shadow!
be nervous 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 nervous of his own shadow!
be scared 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 scared of his own shadow!
A production for which success is not guaranteed, despite positive reviews or acclaim. If our show is a nervous hit, who knows how long it will last on Broadway. The film has had rave reviews, but most analysts expect it to be a nervous hit, as it is a genre not usually known to bring in large number of moviegoers.
Someone who is more timid, nervous, or anxious than is normal or reasonable. My mother's always a bit of a Nervous Nellie around the grandkids, so she doesn't like to look after them. I'm too much of a Nervous Nellie to ever do something like sky diving.
Someone who is overcome with anxiety, apprehension, or nervousness. Where have you been all night? I've been a nervous wreck waiting for you to come home! I'm going to be a nervous wreck waiting to hear back from the doctor about the test results.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
An unduly timid or anxious person, as in He's a real nervous Nellie, calling the doctor about every little symptom. This term does not allude to a particular person named Nellie; rather, the name was probably chosen for the sake of alliteration. [Colloquial; c. 1920]
An individual suffering from extreme agitation or worry, as in Pat was a nervous wreck until her mother arrived at the wedding. This expression is nearly always used hyperbolically. [Colloquial; c. 1900] Also see basket case.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
be frightened/nervous/scared of your own ˈshadowbe very easily frightened; be very nervous: Since the attack he’s been a changed man. He’s nervous of his own shadow and doesn’t like to go out alone at night.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. any nervous person, male or female. Sue is such a nervous Nellie. She should calm down.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
A person who worries unduly or is foolishly fearful. The term apparently originated in the late 1920s and referred to Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg, who served from 1925 to 1929. It soon was picked up and used for any individual, male or female, who showed such qualities. Richard Dyer used it in a review of Acis and Galatea, writing: “The direction presented him [Acis] as a kind of nervous Nellie, unable to decide which shirt to wear to impress Galatea” (Boston Globe, Nov. 23, 2004). See also worry wart.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer