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To deal with something in a more brave, stoic, or masculine way than one has done so hitherto. (Usually used imperatively.) It's just a tiny scratch! You need to man up and quit crying about it. You need to man up and tell your boss that you expect a raise for all the hard work you do!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Don’t be a sissy, do the right thing. This slangy interjection appears to have originated in football in the 1980s and quickly was applied in a variety of situations. Ben Zimmer of the New York Times pointed out it appeared in a Miller Lite beer commercial telling drinkers to man up and drink a light beer with great taste. In a letter to “Voices” a writer had it, “I wonder whether we should split up now because of the marriage issue or whether I should just man up and get a diamond” (Boston Globe, September 18, 2010). But the term does not always stress virility. A Man Up campaign is a global initiative for youth to stop gender-based violence; “Man up and declare that violence against women and girls must end.” It also may call for being resilient in the face of adversity. It is well on its way to clichédom.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer