What does ‘put up one's dukes’ mean?
In the idiom *put up one's dukes*, "dukes" refers to fists. It means to prepare oneself for a fight or confrontation.
Unleashing Defiant Fists
The idiom "put up one's dukes" originated in the late 19th century in the United States. It is primarily used in informal speech and is often associated with boxing or confrontation. The phrase comes from the gesture of raising one's fists to prepare for a fight. This gesture resembles the action of someone putting up their coat sleeves, referred to as "dukes" in slang at the time.
The exact origin of the idiom is uncertain, but it is believed to have emerged from the street slang of urban communities, especially those with a strong boxing culture. The term "dukes" as a slang word for fists is thought to have come from the Irish word "dúcas," which means "fist" or "punch." It is possible that Irish immigrants involved in the boxing scene in the US popularized the usage of this term.
The idiom "put up one's dukes" is typically used to describe a physical confrontation or a challenge to fight. It conveys a sense of readiness and determination to defend oneself or engage in a conflict. The phrase can also be used figuratively to describe a confrontational attitude or the act of standing up against an opponent or an obstacle.
Over time, the idiom has taken on a more figurative meaning and is now commonly used outside of boxing or physical confrontations. It is often used in casual conversation or writing to express a metaphorical readiness to face a challenge, whether it is a difficult situation or an interpersonal conflict.
Additionally, the idiom is related to several other idioms that convey a similar sense of readiness or preparation:
"catch hands" is an idiomatic phrase that means to engage in a physical confrontation. It is similar to "put up one's dukes" in that it describes a readiness to fight or defend oneself.
"come to blows" is another idiom that means to engage in a physical fight or altercation. It can be used interchangeably with "put up one's dukes" to describe a confrontational situation.
"take up the hatchet" is an idiom that means to prepare for a conflict or to take a confrontational stance. It is similar to "put up one's dukes" in that it conveys the idea of readiness and determination to face a challenge.
"Put up" is an idiom that means to offer resistance or opposition. It can be used in a similar context to "put up one's dukes" in that it implies a readiness to stand up against an opponent or an obstacle.
"roll up one's sleeves" is an idiom that means to prepare to work hard or to engage in a challenging task. It is similar to "put up one's dukes" in that it conveys a sense of readiness and determination to face a difficult situation.
The idiom "put up one's dukes" has remained a popular and widely recognized phrase in American English. Despite its origins in boxing slang, its usage has transcended the sport and has become a part of everyday language. It continues to be used as a colorful and evocative expression that conveys a sense of defiance and determination.
While the idiom has a clear meaning and usage, its metaphorical nature allows for a range of interpretations and applications. Its continued relevance in contemporary language highlights the enduring power of idioms to capture and convey complex ideas in a succinct and vivid manner.
Examples of how the idiom put up one's dukes can be used in a sentence:
1. He was so angry that he put up his dukes and challenged the bully to a fight.
2. The boxer was ready to step into the ring and put up his dukes against his opponent.
3. The two friends playfully put up their dukes and pretended to spar with each other.