put up dukes

put up (one's) dukes

cliché To raise one's fists in preparation for a fight. Often said as a command, though this in itself is particularly clichéd and old-fashioned. I put up my dukes, expecting him to strike me at any moment. I ain't gonna let nobody insult my good character—come on and put up your dukes!
See also: duke, put, up

put up one's dukes

Fig. to be prepared to fight. He's telling you to put up your dukes. Put up your dukes and be a man!
See also: duke, put, up