Put a Sock in it Idiom

Put a sock in it (idiom)

Look at the picture and try to guess the meaning of the idiom 'put a sock in it.'   

Put a sock in it:  a rude (impolite) way of telling someone to stop talking or be quiet (stop making a lot of noise).


Notes:

You know what a sock is, right? It's the piece of clothing (usually made of knitted cotton, wool or silk) that you put on your feet (and can pull all the way up to your lower leg or knees) to stay warm and dry. You can see the man in the picture above has two socks in his mouth.

The "it" part of the phrase refers to someone's mouth. So the phrase means, put a sock in someone's mouth.

Well, that's going to make it difficult to talk or if someone does manage to talk it is going to muffle the sound (make it lower in volume). Think of a criminal who kidnaps someone and puts something in or over their mouth to keep them from yelling for help.

That's not a nice thing to do is it?  So, remember also that this is a rude or impolite way to tell someone to be quiet. Please do not tell your boss, teacher or priest / pastor to put a sock in it! You may not want to say it to a stranger either. It's safe for friends and peers but they may not like hearing it. They will, however, understand that you are annoyed by their noise.

It's often used as a command (Put a sock in it!) or a request (Will you put a sock in it?).

A synonym of this phrase is simply:  Shut up!


Examples:

  • The teacher asked the students politely to be quiet several times and when they didn't she finally yelled, "Put a sock in it"  and they shut up.
  • Would you guys put a sock in it?  I'm trying to watch the game.   
  • I wanted the passengers sitting behind me to put a sock in it  but they looked really mean and I was worried they'd talk even louder.
  • If you two don't put a sock in it,  I'll move your desks across the room from each other.
  • Oh my God! The little old lady upstairs just yelled at us to "Put a sock into it!"
  • Girls, will you put a sock in it?  Your nonstop laughing and giggling is giving me a headache.
  • Two of my colleagues were having a loud side conversation during the staff meeting so we were so happy when our supervisor told them to put a sock in it. 
  •  I swear if my neighbors start arguing loudly again tonight I'm going to bang on their door and tell them to put a sock in it.


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Your turn to practice

This is the chance for you to practice.  This is NOT the time for you to put a sock in it!  The only way to improve your English is to use it. Just passively reading information is not going to help very much. So, when is the last time you wanted to tell someone to put a sock in it?


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