stiff upper lip
Posted: 17 July 2019 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Surprisingly, an American import to Britain

[ Edited: 17 July 2019 11:00 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 21 July 2019 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I found this in phrases.org:

“I kept a stiff upper lip, and bought [a] license to sell my goods.”

That citation doesn’t explicitly refer to keeping one’s emotions in check, but a slightly later one, from the Ohio newspaper The Huron Reflector, 1830, makes the meaning unambiguous:

“I acknowledge I felt somehow queer about the bows; but I kept a stiff upper lip, and when my turn came, and the Commodore of the Police axed [sic] me how I come to be in such company… I felt a little better.”

The expression can be found in several US references from the early 19th century and was commonplace there by 1844, which is the date of the earliest example that I can find from a British source.

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Posted: 22 July 2019 01:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The Nova Scotian quote seems to me a bit different in its meaning but it’s hard to tell without more context:

Its a proper pity sich a clever woman should carry such a stiff upper lip.

So someone clever should not be resolute? Nope, don’t see it. Hopefully someone can clarify?

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Posted: 22 July 2019 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The phrase appears three times in Haliburton’s novel:

I had heerd tell of her afore; how she used to carry a stiff upper lip, and make him and the broomstick well acquainted together; and, says I, why do you put up with her tantrums

She was not a bad lookin piece of furniture neither, and its a proper pity sich a clever woman should carry such a stiff upper lip--she reminds me of our old minister Joshua Hopewell’s apple trees.

Why, Sir, that’s A.B’s; he was well to do in the world once, carried a stiff upper lip and keered for no one.

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Posted: 22 July 2019 05:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dave Wilton - 22 July 2019 05:04 AM

The phrase appears three times in Haliburton’s novel:

I had heerd tell of her afore; how she used to carry a stiff upper lip, and make him and the broomstick well acquainted together; and, says I, why do you put up with her tantrums

She was not a bad lookin piece of furniture neither, and its a proper pity sich a clever woman should carry such a stiff upper lip--she reminds me of our old minister Joshua Hopewell’s apple trees.

Why, Sir, that’s A.B’s; he was well to do in the world once, carried a stiff upper lip and keered for no one.

Thanks a lot, Dave, appreciated.

Looks like this other - perhaps original - meaning was more ‘uncaring, angry at the world in general’.

Slightly different from ‘resolute in the face of difficulty’, I would suggest.

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