What Does Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Mean?

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Meaning

Definition: Support your stated opinion by acting on it, investing on it, or betting on it.

Origin of Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

This expression first appeared in America in the 1930s or 1940s. The idea behind this idiom is that it is easy to talk about doing something, but it is harder to do something about it.

Therefore, if a person keeps talking about something he or she thinks is true, but does nothing to support it, someone might use this idiom on him or her.

For example, if a person keeps bragging that his or her team will win the championship, another person might challenge the braggart to a bet on the outcome of the game with this idiom. A synonymous expression, specifically for the betting meaning, is put up or shut up. This means place a bet on that or stop talking about it.

Before this expression existed, there were several others that were similar. These included put your money where your faith is and put your money where your heart is. The idea behind these is similar. If you care about something, you should support it with money or other actions.

Examples of Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

put money where mouth isThe dialogue below shows two university students working together on a group project.

Nisha: Let’s use this class time to gather more data from relevant research papers.

Alan: Oh, you want to work on this now? It’s so easy I don’t see any need to start this early.

Nisha: If it’s so easy, then why not just get it over with? You keep claiming this project will be simple, but so far you haven’t finished a single part of it. Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?

Alan: What do you mean?

Nisha: Finish this task in the next hour. If it’s really as easy as you say, you should have no problem. If you can do it, I’ll give you 20 bucks. If you can’t, you’ll admit to the teacher that you’ve done no work on this group project so far.

put money where your mouth isThe second dialogue shows a father and son discussing the son’s beliefs.

Son: That company is evil because they cause so much pollution.

Dad: You cause a lot of pollution yourself. You drive all the time rather than taking your bike or riding the bus. You also claim to agree with all these environmental groups.

Son: What are you saying?

Dad: I think you should put your money where your mouth is. If you want to support them, you should make some monetary donations to those environmental groups, or at least volunteer for them.

More Examples

The excerpt is from an article about whether climate change policies benefit the rich more than the poor.

  • He said his spending plan gives lawmakers who say they’re interested in directing money to low-income communities — including those who haven’t voted to continue the climate programs in the past — an opportunity. In 2015, the bill to extend the greenhouse gas reduction targets, SB 32, fell 11 votes short of passage in the Assembly, and no more than that many Assembly Democrats can defect from the party caucus this year. “Now is a time to put your money where your mouth is,” De León said. –LA Times

This excerpt is about the chance to buy a handwritten page from the manuscript of Charles Darwin.

  • If you are among the scant 33% of U.S. adults who believe that humans and other living things evolved solely by a process of natural selection, it might be time to put your money where your mouth is. –LA Times


The phrase put your money where your mouth is means invest your money in what you believe or act on what you claim.