Put Up or Shut Up – Meaning and Origin

Photo of author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Put up or shut up means it’s time to take action instead of just talking about it. So, if you can’t back up your claims with actions, it is best to remain silent.

Stemming from a somewhat feisty corner of English origin, this expression has ties to both boxing and poker. Since idioms are figurative phrases with no literal meanings attached to the words, it’s all about the nuance and context surrounding them.

Please keep reading to learn all about its true meaning, origins, and how to use it through the sentence examples provided.

Put Up or Shut Up Meaning

Put Up or Shut Up – Meaning and Origin

If you say someone should put up or shut up, you’re telling them to either back their claims with evidence or to stop talking about it. In essence, it’s a way of saying, “Show me the proof, or stop making empty promises.”

I can’t help but think of the lives we live online. Social media has opened up so many opportunities for people to fib about details related to their lives. So, now, most followers expect content creators to show proof of things, aka putting up or shutting up.

The phrase implies that actions speak louder than words. If someone boasts, promises, or complains about something, they should be ready to act on their claims or stop speaking about it altogether.

Put Up or Shut Up Origin and Etymology

The idiom put up or shut up comes from gambling slang from the late 19th century. In the game of poker, put up means to produce or show your money. If a player couldn’t or wouldn’t, they’d be told to shut up or stop upping the ante.

But there are also connections to the sport of boxing in how a fighter had to put up their fists and fight or walk away.

Put Up or Shut Up Synonyms

  • Action speaks louder than words
  • Fish or cut bait
  • Walk the talk
  • All talk and no trousers
  • Put your money where your mouth is

Examples of Put Up or Shut Up in a Sentence

Put Up or Shut Up – Meaning and Origin 1

  • If you think you can do better, then put up or shut up.
  • She told her critics to put up or shut up by challenging them to a debate.
  • “You always claim to be the best salesperson, but it’s time to put up or shut up,” the manager declared.
  • During the meeting, Jasmine finally told Ryan to put up or shut up about his so-called revolutionary marketing strategy.
  • The coach said it was time for the team to put up or shut up if they hoped to win the championship.
  • Tired of the baseless accusations, she challenged her coworker to put up or shut up.
  • Critics of the new law were told to put up alternative solutions or shut up.
  • “If you’re going to keep claiming that you can fix the issue, it’s time to put up or shut up,” she told the technician.

Concluding With Conviction

Put up or shut up is a compelling idiom that urges individuals to substantiate their claims with action or refrain from empty talk. Its origins lie in poker and boxing, emphasizing the importance of backing words with deeds. In an era dominated by social media, this idiom resonates as a call for authenticity. Actions indeed speak louder than words.

It’s a clear message: demonstrate your commitment or remain silent. Do you feel more confident about using this phrase now? Fill your boots with more fun idioms like this one right on our site!

Check out some others we covered: