What does the idiom "put on a brave face" mean?

put on a brave face is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression put on a brave face is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "put on a brave face"


The idiom "put on a brave face" means to put on a strong front, to show emotional strength in the face of difficult or trying times. It refers to appearing calm and collected, though one may be feeling the opposite inside. The individual puts on a brave face to symbolise that they will not be intimidated by a situation or difficult emotions. Through this expression, a person is attempting to gain control of a situation or to cope with the situation in the best way possible.


The phrase "put on a brave face" first appeared in print in 1739 as a phrase in John Gauden’s book, “Ecclesiastical and Other Poems”. The expression is believed to stem from an age-old need to appear strong, particularly in the face of adversity or challenging times. It was important for individuals to show strength, both to themselves and those around them, during times of uncertainty.


The phrase "put on a brave face" is used in all levels of English conversation. It is used to refer to a person's state of mind during a difficult, emotionally straining situation, such as the death of a loved one, a job loss, a major exam. It is also used to refer to situations in which a person must remain composed or collected in the face of a difficult or hostile environment. It is often used metaphorically to refer to putting on a false show of strength or courage when in fact the person is anything but strong.

Example Sentences

  • The divorce was hard on her, but she put on a brave face to get through it.
  • The young soldier put on a brave face as he headed off to battle.
  • Although she was scared, Rose put on a brave face and went inside the haunted house.

The meanings of the words in the "put on a brave face" idiom

Idioms have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


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