Cold Feet

Meanings of “Cold Feet”

The phrase “cold feet” means a person is afraid or apprehensive to take a certain step or decision. It also means to have doubt, lose heart or courage to achieve something. The phrase is most commonly used to describe when a person cancels the wedding or afraid of getting married after all the arrangements.

Origin of “Cold Feet”

The phrase “cold feet” is stated to have originated from Maggie; A Girl of the Streets, a novel by Stephan Crane. It was published in 1896 in which the phrase goes thus: “I knew this was the way it would be. They got cold feet.”

Since then, the phrase has been used in almost the same sense.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

“**cold Feet” by Sylvi Sylva

“Cold, Cold Feet
You feel: I always get cold feet
In this, your roomful society
It’s not through lack of courage, you’ll see
Is it odd ’cause I hail from the tropics
Where many rivers flow and the sky bears rainbows”

The phrase is used in the first two lines to stress upon the singer’s timidity before her lover, saying that it seems odd but as she comes from the tropical regions. Therefore, she feels odd at his home where rooms are full. The phrase has been repeated twice in the first two lines with stress in the very first line on the “cold.” The title also stresses upon it with a double asterisk.

Example #2

Cold Feet Brian O’Neill

My feet are like ice
I cannot sleep
It’s really not nice
I could almost weep

Hypothermia is taking hold
It’s freezing-What’s the matter?
Now my nose is so so cold
My feet dipped in ice cold water!

That’s it!!Time to act
Hot water bottle, thick wool socks
Cold feet-No sleep-Fact
Cosy, warm feet-Sleep-It rocks!!!

The poem uses direct meaning as well as an extended metaphor for personal life but with a hint of pain. The poet has cold feet and timid. He confesses that he cannot sleep when he physically suffers from hypothermia; otherwise, cold feet. However, when you have warm feet, you can sleep well and enjoy life.

Example #3

Cold Feet by Cynthia C. DeFelice

This is a beautiful story of Willie McPhee, a bagpipe player of Scotland, the country where bagpipe playing is considered a skill. He wants to earn some more by hooking customers to enjoy life. This has made him go out even at night to find his customers when he stumbled upon a dead body, having very good boots in the feet. Willie, therefore, after finding no customer, finds those boots and reaches home to tell that he was having cold feet. The phrase has been used as the title to show its metaphorical use in the story.

Example #4

Bloody Awful by Georgia Evan

She was not getting cold feet over this. Alright, she did have cold feet but of the physical sort. It was cold as a tomb in here and she suspected the sheets were damp into the bargain, but it was nine hundred percent better than trying to bind a shelter.

The narrator states that the female character in question was not timid though she seems somewhat physically showing this timidity. It happens in binding a shelter to get warm which shows the literal use.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Selah was ready for the chess competition and had been practicing for a year for the grand finale. However, at the last minute, she got cold feet and didn’t participate.”

Example #2: When all were chasing the rabbits and his hounds were running after him, he thought that had reached the center of the forest where it is rumored that some maneaters live. He immediately developed cold feet and started running back, though he still had his loyal hounds with him.”

Example #3: He is feeling as cold as cold feet; not able to move here, not able to move there. However, when I entered the room, I instantly asked him to get up and do not show me his face unless he completes the job.”

Example #4: “You got there and develop cold feet. This seems non-sense, for you are the most courageous fellow among all of your friends. However, when you develop cold feet, it seems you are no more a human being.”

Example #5: “More than two hundred people were there and he was feeling cold feet like never before.”