cold feet

noun Informal.

a loss or lack of courage or confidence; an onset of uncertainty or fear: She got cold feet when asked to sing a solo.

Origin of cold feet

First recorded in 1890–95 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cold feet

anxiety, apprehension, doubt, fear, timidity

British Dictionary definitions for cold feet

cold feet

pl n

informal loss or lack of courage or confidence
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cold feet

1893, American English; the presumed Italian original (avegh minga frecc i pee) is a Lombard proverb meaning "to have no money," but some of the earliest English usages refer to gamblers, so a connection is possible.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cold feet in Culture

cold feet

To “have cold feet” is to be too fearful to undertake or complete an action: “The backup quarterback was called into the game, but he got cold feet and refused to go in.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.