pull your socks up


pull your socks up

Meaning | Definition

  • to be determined to work very hard
  • to resolve to achieve a target that is usually difficult to achieve
  • to ensure that the set goals are met through hard work and perseverance
  • to be prepared for a difficult course

Example Sentences

  • The company needs you to pull your socks up now that the market condition is so bad.
  • I am pulling my socks up to be able to pass the chartered accountancy exam this time.
  • You cannot just pull your socks up and expect to get out of this adventure unscathed. You will need to have a better plan.
  • She has pulled her socks up and has promised me to complete the course.


The phrase originates from the time when running was prominent and people would wear special running shoes and socks. To pull up the socks would mean that the race is about to start and hence the athletes would have to be prepared for it. Over the years it has seeped into the usual parlance and people use it as a simile for something difficult that is about to begin. It is also used for people who are determined to do something. We are not sure whether phrase is speculated to be British or American at origin, if you have any idea about it’s origin kindly share in comment box below.

Share your opinions3 Opinions

To pull up one’s socks means to get ready for some hard work to succeed.

‒ Shankar Saran December 17, 2020

“That’s a interesting phrase that originated in Australia. Prisoners who were sentenced to deportation to Australia wore permanent manacles around their ankles which left marks on the skin. When the had completed their sentence the manacles were removed and they were advised to ‘Pull up their socks’ to help cover the marks while searching for a job”. ………… this was from Michael Gilbey, a contributor today on the East London and Beyond facebook site

‒ Anne O’Donnell May 28, 2020

I understand that the expression goes back to classical Greek theatre when comic actors wore short socks and tragedians wore long socks, to indicate their status, so the expression meant to get serious. I am looking for confirmation for this.

‒ Peter Benson November 21, 2017

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