keep one's pecker up

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Of pecker, meaning courage.

Verb[edit]

keep your pecker up (third-person singular simple present keeps one's pecker up, present participle keeping one's pecker up, simple past and past participle kept one's pecker up)

  1. (chiefly UK, idiomatic) To remain cheerful; keep smiling.
    • 1880, Talbot Baines Reed, The Fifth Form at Saint Dominic's,
      “Of course you will,” said Wraysford, cheerily; “it’s hard lines at first. Keep your pecker up, young ’un.” The young ’un, despite this friendly advice, felt very far from keeping up his pecker. But he did his best, and worked his face into a melancholy sort of a smile.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, Episode 12, The Cyclops
      --Keep your pecker up, says Joe. She'd have won the money only for the other dog.
    • 1977 W. Somerset Maugham, Collected short stories,
      "Nerves a bit dicky, eh? Playing a tune to keep your pecker up?"
    • 2003 Janet Floyd, Laurel Forster, The recipe reader: narratives, contexts, traditions‎,
      All you need is a box of goodies to keep your pecker up, ...

See also[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

In America, where pecker means penis, this phrase is not used, so may be mistaken as a vulgar command to maintain an erection.