Last modified on 19 June 2013, at 21:17

stiff upper lip

EnglishEdit

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EtymologyEdit

American in origin; earliest known use in 1815 [1].

NounEdit

stiff upper lip (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) The quality of being resolute and showing self-restraint, stereotypically associated with the British; especially as keep a stiff upper lip.
    • 1834, David Crockett, A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, page 130
      I thought now the jig was mighty nigh up with me, but I determined to keep a stiff upper lip.
    • 1900, Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, page 49
      A man may go pretty near through his whole sea-life without any call to show a stiff upper lip.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter II and XV:
      [...] Jeeves came in, bowler hat in hand, to say goodbye. A solemn moment, taxing our self-control to the utmost. However, we both kept the upper lip stiff, and after we had kidded back and forth for a while he started to withdraw. [...] He poked his head round the tree as I arrived, and when I waved a cheery hand at him, waved a fairly cheery hand at me. Though I only caught a glimpse of him, I could see that his upper lip was stiff.
    • 2005, Ben Wright with Michael Patrick Shiels, Good Bounces and Bad Lies, page 39
      In typical British stiff upper lip fashion, the tournament organizers expected us to play into, and through, the menacing weather.