Afraid Of Your Own Shadow

Also: Frightened of one’s own shadow

Meaning of Idiom ‘Afraid of One’s Own Shadow’

To be afraid of one’s (your, his, her) own shadow means to be extremely timid, nervous, fearful, and easily frightened. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010. 2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 3Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.

Examples Of Use

“Vick was always so carefree but since he was mugged he’s been afraid of his own shadow.”

“I don’t know how Maurice can be a security guard. The guy’s afraid of his own shadow!”

Afraid of your own shadow idiom meaning

Origin

An exaggeration, this idiom has been used since the early 1500’s, and may originally be of Greek origin. 4 Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

It is found in a fragment of a play from the Greek playwright Aristophanes, who worked from 427 to 397 BCE. 5Aristophanes. Aristophanes. Translated by Jeffrey Henderson, Harvard University Press, 2007.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
4.  Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
5. Aristophanes. Aristophanes. Translated by Jeffrey Henderson, Harvard University Press, 2007.