Where Did the Saying “Cold Feet” Come From and What Does the Expression Mean?

To have cold feet means to lose your nerve when facing danger; it began meaning cowardly more than a hundred years ago.

This is a bit harsh, because everyone’s bodily extremities, including the hands and feet, become cold when terrified because under the circumstances, the body draws blood away from these areas to fuel vital organs for combat or flight.

So cold feet don’t make the coward, it’s the running away.