What does the idiom "get cold feet" mean?

The expression get cold feet is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the get cold feet idiom.

Meaning of "get cold feet"


The phrase 'get cold feet' is used to refer to someone who has a sudden change of heart or feels anxious and not confident about doing something they have previously agreed to do. It is usually used to describe someone who is about to undertake a major responsibility, such as getting married, taking a job, or entering a major competition.


The phrase 'get cold feet' first appeared in print in the late 1800s and is believed to have originated from the fact that cold feet can cause physical discomfort and be a sign of fear or anxiety. It is believed that the phrase evolved as an analogy for someone who was feeling scared or nervous about something.


The phrase 'get cold feet' is often used as a humorous way to describe an internal feeling of nerves or anxiety, rather than an obvious physical symptom. It is used to describe someone whose confidence is waning before they take a major responsibility. The phrase can also be used in a more serious context to imply that someone is not as committed to a situation or task as they previously anticipated.

Example Sentences

  • I was all set for the competition, but I got cold feet and had to back out.
  • He was about to get married, but he got cold feet and called it off.
  • The new manager was all set to take on the job, but he got cold feet in the last minute.

The meanings of the words in the "get cold feet" idiom

Idioms have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


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