Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Meaning of Idiom ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’

To put your money where your mouth is means to do something rather than just talk about it; to take actions that support your opinion, statements or position; to use your own money in support of something you say your support. 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.

Compare put up or shut up.

Usage

This idiom can refer to literally staking your own money in support of something but it is often used more figuratively to refer to any type of action.

Examples Of Use

“You say your support the bill. Put your money where your mouth is,” said the senator.

“We’ve complained about low wages for years and nothing has improved. It’s time to put our money where our mouth is and call a strike.”

“If you like the idea so much why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and cut a check?” said the investor.

“You say your boss is a scumbag but you keep working for him. Put your money where your mouth is and quit.”

Origin

Used since at least the 1910s as suggested by several instances in a Google book search, this idiom was common by the late 1930’s or 1940s.

An example from 1913 (Source):

Similar expressions existed since the late 1800s such as ‘put your money where your heart is’ or ‘put your money where your interests are.’ Whether these expression gave rise to the current idiom is unknown. As suggested by the above instance of the expression in the New York Tribune from 1913, the money variant was somewhat contemporaneous with the other variants. See further discussion. The related idiom, put up or shut up, which is earlier, states the same idea.

The allusion here is simple. Contribute cold, hard cash to support the views you state. ‘Where your mouth is’ alludes to the things you are saying.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
2. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.