A conversation with a co-worker sparked this blog post. We were theorizing on the history of 'cold feet.' There are so many phrases used in our language that we use regularly without knowing their origin. Cold Feet is just one of many.
After much searching, here is what I found:
The history of the phrase getting cold feetdoes not actually have a certain origin. Some sources say it first appeared in Stephen Crane's 1894 work Maggie: A Child of the Streets. A character shows his admiration for a man who does not suffer from doubt whenever a tough decision must be made.
Others say the phrase was popular in Germany during the 1860s, describing gamblers and others whose livelihoods depended on being supremely confident in their decisions.
Some sources even suggest the description as a metaphor for lost courage can be traced back to the writings of Ben Jonson, a contemporary of William Shakespeare. This particular reference appears to be more related to a sense of poverty, however, not a sudden loss of fortitude or courage. Literally having cold feet from a lack of proper footwear could indeed make a person more cautious or hesitant, however, so its possible both concepts contributed to the popularity of the phrase.
Although the origin of the common phrase cannot be directly related to one of these many references, scientific studies have been done on cold feet as it relates to marriage.
The long and the short of it is... although we don't know the true origin of the term cold feet, it is a staple phrase in our language, so much so, that studies have been done on the phenomenon, storylines have been written, and movies produced.
If only a good pair of socks could cure wedding jitters!
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