Put up your dukes...
Posted by Bob on June 09, 2003
In Reply to: Put up your dukes... posted by S. Ryan on June 09, 2003
: Any ideas on the origin of "put up yer dukes," when advising someone to prepare to defend himself?
Cockney rhyming slang, or so I have been told. "Duke of York" = knife and fork. Put a knife and fork in your fists before eating (I never promised this was going to be an elegant dinner party, now did I) and you've got your hands in position to fight. Once, of course, you put them up.
See also - the meaning an dorigin of 'Put up your dukes'.