shake in boots
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shake in (one's) boots
To tremble with fear. Often used sarcastically. My brother is so strong and scary-looking that people shake in their boots when he threatens them. Ooh, I'm really scared of you! I'm shaking in my boots, you frighten me so!
shake in one's bootsand quake in one's boots
Fig. to be afraid; to shake from fear. I was shaking in my boots because I had to go see the manager for being late. Stop quaking in your boots, Bob. I'm not going to fire you.
shake in one's shoes/boots, to
To be in a state of terror or extreme nervousness. This vivid image of trembling with fear has been around since about 1800. William Cobbett is recorded as having said it (Political Register, 1818): “This is quite enough to make Corruption and all her tribe shake in their shoes.” See also scared silly.