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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.
plural noun
(informal) loss or lack of courage or confidence

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.

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.”

Related Terms

have cold feet


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