quake in one's boots

(redirected from shake in one's boots)

quake in (one's) boots

To tremble with fear or nervousness. (Sometimes said sarcastically.) My brother is so strong and scary-looking that people quake in their boots when he threatens them. Ooh, I'm really scared of you! I'm quaking in my boots, you frighten me so!
See also: boot, quake

quake in one's boots

Also, shake in one's boots; quake or shake like a leaf . Tremble with fear, as in The very thought of a hurricane blowing in makes me quake in my boots. Both quake and shake here mean "tremble." These idioms were preceded by the alliterative phrase shake in one's shoes in the late 1800s. The idioms with leaf allude to trembling leaves, as in He was shaking like a leaf when the exams were handed back. A similar expression was used by Chaucer, who put it as quake like an aspen leaf, a particularly apt comparison since aspen leaves have flattened stems that cause the leaves to quiver in the gentlest breeze.
See also: boot, quake
References in classic literature ?
A hasty but searching glance sufficed to tell him that, though Uncas still remained where he had left him, David had not reappeared.
Yet there were no tokens that his physical strength might not have sufficed for a free and determined gait.
Not so with our old Inspector One brief sigh sufficed to carry off the entire burden of these dismal reminiscences.
These reasonings have sufficed, in a measure, to mend the rent in my conscience which I made by traveling to Baden-Baden that Sunday.
Her father never went beyond the shrubbery, where two divisions of the ground sufficed him for his long walk, or his short, as the year varied; and since Mrs.
I had not a very large wardrobe, though it was adequate to my wants; and the last day sufficed to pack my trunk,--the same I had brought with me eight years ago from Gateshead.
Walking along the Strand, afterwards, and observing a hard mottled substance in the window of a ham and beef shop, which resembled marble, but was labelled 'Mock Turtle', I went in and bought a slab of it, which I have since seen reason to believe would have sufficed for fifteen people.
Four generations had not sufficed to blend the hostile blood of the Normans and Anglo-Saxons, or to unite, by common language and mutual interests, two hostile races, one of which still felt the elation of triumph, while the other groaned under all the consequences of defeat.
While some declared that it sufficed for a slave to be beautiful, others, and Khacan was among the number, maintained that beauty alone was not enough, but that it must be accompanied by wit, wisdom, modesty, and, if possible, knowledge.
The fiery Biscayan was the first to strike a blow, which was delivered with such force and fury that had not the sword turned in its course, that single stroke would have sufficed to put an end to the bitter struggle and to all the adventures of our knight; but that good fortune which reserved him for greater things, turned aside the sword of his adversary, so that although it smote him upon the left shoulder, it did him no more harm than to strip all that side of its armour, carrying away a great part of his helmet with half of his ear, all which with fearful ruin fell to the ground, leaving him in a sorry plight.
The feudal system of industry, under which industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets.
that she often was unable to understand), sufficed to make her reject an aspirant as unworthy: this one had neither heart nor delicacy; that one told lies, and was not religious; a third only wanted to coin money under the cloak of marriage; another was not of a nature to make a woman happy; here she suspected hereditary gout; there certain immoral antecedents alarmed her.
Always had she coveted something of the kind; but never had The Sheik permitted her more than the single cotton garment that barely sufficed to cover her nakedness.
And how few, how few words," I thought, in passing, "were needed; how little of the idyllic (and affectedly, bookishly, artificially idyllic too) had sufficed to turn a whole human life at once according to my will.
Ten minutes sufficed for their defeat, and D'Artagnan remained master of the field of battle.