one's blood runs cold

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one's blood runs cold

  1. (literally) A physical experience when the person realizes a direct and life threatening threat. A physical shock experience, similar to the loss of blood in the brain. It affects the entire body for a few minutes, but does not cause the person to lose consciousness. Only very rarely experienced.
  2. (idiomatic) One experiences a visceral feeling of fear, horror, dread, or strong foreboding.
    • 1838, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, ch. 18:
      Little Oliver's blood ran cold, as he listened to the Jew's words, and imperfectly comprehended the dark threats conveyed in them.
    • 1891, H. Rider Haggard, Nada the Lily, ch. 13:
      [M]y blood ran cold and my heart turned to water, for there, before the cave, rolled wolves, many and great.
    • 1908, W. Somerset Maugham, The Magician, ch. 9:
      Her blood ran cold, and her heart seemed pressed in an iron vice.
    • 2004 Jan. 12, Jeffrey Ressner, "Sundances with Wolves," Time:
      His "blood runs cold" imagining the wrath of Weinstein.


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