put up (one's) dukes

(redirected from putting up your 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

Put up your dukes!

A challenge to fight. The “dukes” in question were fists, which the challenged party was asked to clench in preparation to trying to punch his opponent. But why “dukes?” The word comes from Cockney rhyming slang “Duke of York,” meaning “fork,” held at mealtimes by a clenched fist. Similarly, “duke it out” remains a general term for fighting.
See also: put, up