Tim Bowen helps you see these idioms in the cold light of day with his latest instalment of Your English.

‘I’ve tried listening to it, but I have to say that modern jazz simply leaves me cold.’ If something leaves you cold, it completely fails to make you interested or excited. 

The expression in the cold light of day is used to describe how people feel about emotional matters when they think about them later in a calmer, more rational way, as in ‘In the cold light of day his behaviour didn’t seem quite so unreasonable’ or ‘We will need to examine the proposals carefully in the cold light of day’. 

If you get cold feet, you suddenly feel nervous about something that you have planned or agreed to do, as in ‘They were planning to get married but he got cold feet at the last minute and called the whole thing off’. 

If you give someone the cold shoulder, you behave in an unfriendly way towards them or ignore them completely, as in ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to have done but he’s been giving me the cold shoulder all week’. 

If you throw or pour cold water on something, you do or say something that spoils someone else’s plans or dampens their enthusiasm, as in ‘The government has poured cold water on the suggestion that its austerity measures might be relaxed in the coming months’. 

If someone is out cold, they are completely unconscious, as in ‘He took a heavy blow to the head and was out cold for several minutes’. 

An action done in cold blood is done in a cruel, calm way without showing any emotion, as in ‘A group of unarmed civilians were shot in cold blood’.