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
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for cold feet
informal loss or lack of courage or confidence
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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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
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.