What Does Butterflies in My Stomach Mean?

Butterflies in Your My Meaning

Definition: A strange sensation in one’s stomach.

We use this expression to describe the feeling when one is nervously anticipating something, such as a speech or other big event.

People will also get butterflies in their stomachs when they are around someone the are romantically involved.

Origin of Butterflies in My Stomach

This expression originated around the early-1900s. It comes from the idea that the fluttering feeling inside the stomach feels like actual butterflies are flying around inside.

Examples of Butterflies in My Stomach

 butterfly feeling in stomachThis example shows two coworkers who are nervous about performing at the office’s talent show. 

Regina: Ginny! I think that we should pull out of the talent show.

Ginny: Why? What’s the matter?

Regina: I’ve never sung in front of a large group of people, and I’m starting to feel really nervous.

Ginny: Don’t be nervous! I’ve never performed in front of an audience either. I also feel like I have butterflies in my stomach. It will be fun once we’re up there. All of our coworkers are supportive.

Regina: You’re probably right, but I feel more than just butterflies in my stomach. I feel like I might throw up.

Ginny: Let’s just try to relax and not think about it.

why do you get butterflies in your stomachIn this example, two friends are talking about an upcoming proposal that one of them is going to make.

Kevin: I have some big news.

Steve: What is it?

Kevin: I think I’m going to propose to Madison. 

Steve: Really? That’s huge! When are you going to do it?

Kevin: I’m going to do it on our anniversary, which is this weekend.

Steve: Are you nervous?

Kevin: Yeah, I have butterflies in my stomach. But I’m excited, too!

More Examples

This excerpt describes an athlete who was nervous but still gave an amazing gymnastic performance at the Olympics.

  • Three-time world champion Simone Biles led the way. Her score of 62.366 was well clear of teammate Aly Raisman. So much for the butterflies in her stomach. –Houston Chronicle

This excerpt is about strangers who love using Instagram to meet up with new people.

  • When Victoire Louapre arrived at Mapo Galbi — the Koreatown restaurant beloved for its spicy chicken dak galbi — she had butterflies in her stomach. LA Times


The phrase butterflies in one’s stomach means a slight moving sensation within one’s stomach when one is feeling anxious.