Butterflies in one’s stomach

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Butterflies in one’s stomach is an idiom that dates to the twentieth century. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom butterflies in one’s stomach, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

When someone has butterflies in one’s stomach, he is anxious, nervous, or excited. The term butterflies in one’s stomach refers to the fluttering feeling one has when anxious, nervous, or excited. The phrase butterflies in one’s stomach came into use around 1908 and originally used the singular, butterfly. By the mid-twentieth century, the term morphed into butterflies in one’s stomach.


“I have to be honest that there’s some butterflies in my stomach about it today, but I think it’s the right moment to do this.“ (The Scotsman)

Brazil’s Olympic football men’s team captain Dani Alves has played on the game’s biggest stages but says he is still feeling pre-tournament ‘butterflies’ ahead of Thursday’s opener against Germany. (Reuters)

“I had practiced my presentation maybe 50 times and was still really nervous, but as soon as I went on the stage, my butterflies in my stomach disappeared.” (Austin American-Statesman

Want to have more idioms in your arsenal? Check out some others we covered:

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