put up or shut up

Idioms & Phrases

put up or shut up

Act on what you are saying or stop talking about it, as in You've been citing evidence for months but never presented itnow put up or shut up. This somewhat impolite term, often put as a command, is believed to come from gambling, in which a card player is told to ante up or withdraw. A second theory maintains that it means either put up your fists to fight or back down. [1870s] Also see put one's money where one's mouth is.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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