What Does Put A Sock In It Mean?

Put a Sock in It Meaning

Definition: Be quiet; shut your mouth.

This is a very rude expression. Generally, people use it in anger, frustration, or annoyance.

Origin of Put a Sock in It

This idiom first appeared during the early 1900s. There is some evidence to suggest that it originated shortly before or during World War 1. However, it is unclear exactly how it developed. It is possible that socks were stuffed into people’s mouths to keep them from screaming.

Examples of Put a Sock in It

sock it meaningIn this conversation, a mother is tired of hearing her daughter complain about planning her wedding.

Daughter: Everything is going wrong! The caterer doesn’t make the kind of appetizer I want, my friends are complaining about their bridesmaids’ dresses, and I can’t decide on the reception location.

Mother: Oh put a sock in it already.

Daughter: What? That is so rude!

Mother: Yeah, but I’m your mother, so I’m allowed to be rude. And you’ve been complaining for days. It’s time for you to stop talking about all these problems and start doing something about them.

Daughter: I know. I know.

Mother: So do something now. I’m serious. I don’t want to hear one more complaint from you until after you’ve at least tried to solve everything.

Daughter: Okay, fine. I understand.

put a sock in it originIn this example, two coworkers talk about their boss.

Dave: Who’s your boss now?

Ben: It’s Charles.

Dave: What’s he like?

Ben: Oh, he’s terrible. He’s a complete idiot.

Dave: Shh! Be quiet.

Ben: No, I’m serious. He’s utterly incompetent.

Dave: Put a sock in it! Charles just came in, and he’s walking up right behind you!

More Examples

In this quote, a man’s coworkers aren’t sure if they want him to be quiet or not.

  • I feel like they’re all scurrying to the back room at 4AD going, “Oh … Ariel just won’t shut up.” And then it’s like, “Wait a second. OK. Whew.” Then it’s like, “Oh no, he’s said something else!” Then it’s like, “Oh, this is great! He’s getting so much attention!” They can’t tell if they want me to put a sock in it or not. –LA Times

In this example, the article describes how businessmen and women will stop communicating over Twitter if they learn that it costs them money.

  • Of course, if Twitter leads C.E.O.s to actually start losing money — well, that’s when they will finally put a sock in it. Silence will once again be golden when not being silent means having less gold. –New York Times


The phrase put a sock in it is an impolite way to tell someone to stop quiet.