Stiff upper lip
One who has a stiff upper lip displays fortitude in the face of adversity, or exercises great self-restraint in the expression of emotion. The phrase is most commonly heard as part of the idiom "keep a stiff upper lip", and has traditionally been used to describe an attribute of British people (particularly upper-middle and upper class), who are sometimes perceived by other cultures as being unemotional. A sign of weakness is trembling of the upper lip, hence the saying keep a stiff upper lip. When a person's upper lip begins to tremble, it is one of the first signs that the person is scared or experiencing deep emotion. Poems that feature a memorable evocation of Victorian stoicism and a stiff upper lip include Rudyard Kipling's "If—" and W. E. Henley's "Invictus". The phrase became symbolic of the British people, and particularly of those who were products of the English public school system, during the Victorian era. However the idiom may be of American origin; its earliest known example is in a publication called the Massachusetts Spy for 14 June 1815: "I kept a stiff upper lip, and bought [a] license to sell my goods."
See also 
- Coping (psychology)
- Psychological resilience
- Sisu, Finnish persistence
- Social sharing of emotions
- Keep a stiff upper lip Phrases.org.uk. Retrieved February 20, 2011
- "Stiff upper lip". World Wide Words. 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- Spartans and Stoics - Stiff Upper Lip - Icons of England Retrieved February 20, 2011
- "Michael Quinion writes on international English from a British viewpoint". World Wide Words. 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
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