Your big-boy pants

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri Jun 13 16:54:24 UTC 2014

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In the example Jonathan gave, I think the expression "strap your big boy pants on" would mean something like "bite the bullet."  But it can also mean "not act immature or cowardly."

     Christopher Philippo wrote:

On Jun 13, 2014, at 8:32 AM, Jonathan Lighter

> Philip Mudd, ex-CIA analyst, on CNN re Bergdahl:
> "As I said in the past, you gotta strap your big-boy pants on, 'cause =
> ain't no good decisions!"

The overall meaning of =93you gotta strap your big-boy pants on=94 is =
unclear to me - is it: grow up/don=92t be a baby?

By strap, I suppose a belt is meant.  The use of =93big-boy=94 is, =
ironically, infantile and when followed by a double negative it makes =
one shudder that an ex-CIA analyst takes pride in repeatedly using the =
expression.  Given that he specialized in South Asia and the Middle East =
yet failed to anticipate, detect, or prevent the 9/11 attacks, and that =
he was involved with Iraq prior to the invasion, and with setting up the =
new dysfunctional =93government=94 in Afghanistan, and he speaks only =
English and French and not Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Berber, Farsi, =
Pushto, Punjabi, Urdu, etc. one wonders why he=92s listened to at all. =


The American Dialect Society -

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