What Does Keep Your Chin Up Mean?

Keep Your Chin Up Meaning

Definition: Try to act cheerful when experiencing a difficult time; don’t lose courage.

Origin of Keep Your Chin Up

It is unclear exactly where this phrase originated. Some speculate it replaced an older term in Britain keep your pecker up, circa 1840.

In the 1840s in Great Britain, pecker did not have sexual connotations. It meant “courage” and “resolution.”

Others speculate the phrase is American in origin—appearing first in the early 1900s. Perhaps it was the Americans who updated the phrase from pecker to chin.

If one keeps his chin up, he shows positivity, courage, and resolve.

Examples of Keep Your Chin Up

keep your chin up quotes In this example, a man uses the expression while talking to his friend, who had a very bad day.

Rodrigo: What’s the matter, Alisha? You look so sad!

Alisha: I’m just upset. Everything went wrong today.

Rodrigo: What happened?

Alisha: All the people I work with are cruel. They all hate me and say the nastiest things about me. I’m going to quit my job.

Rodrigo: I thought you loved your job!

Alisha: I do, except for this group of mean people.

Rodrigo: Well, if you have to quit, then go ahead and do it. But you can’t let the mean people see how upset they made you. When you go back to work, keep your chin up. Act like you aren’t bothered by them at all. Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing they upset you.

Alisha: You’re right. I won’t let them see me sad.

quotes about keeping your chin up In the example below, two friends are discussing a pet that recently died.

Luis: Why are you still so sad?

Stephanie: My hamster died last night. I’m just still feeling a little down because of it.

Luis: Oh, well hamsters don’t usually live longer than 2 or 3 years anyway. Keep your chin up! It’s not your fault your hamster died.

Stephanie: I know it’s not my fault that it died, but I still feel bad! It’s okay to mourn for a bit.

More Examples

This quote is about staying hopeful during a hard time.

  • Chapman was in tears in the dugout after the inning. “It was a very emotional moment,” Chapman (through the team translator) said, crediting Ross with pulling him out of it. “He said keep your chin up; we’ve got this; we’ll pick you up.” –Chicago Sun Times

This excerpt is from an opinion article on the right way to act after losing an election.

  • I’m also proud of the baby boom generation. Apparently, we still have something to impart to our youngers. Grace under pressure, for one thing: How to lose with class and keep your chin up. –OC Register


The phrase keep your chin up means maintain a positive appearance or attitude despite hardship.

People often use this in the command form as a friendly piece of advice for someone who is feeling sad.