Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
Put a sock in it... :)
This is a colloquial (commonly used conversation) British phrase that originated in 1919.
It is generally used when someone is being noisy enough to annoy others.
The imagery (mental picture) created by the phrase is that putting a sock in whatever was causing the noise would reduce the volume.
There are suggestions that a loud sound may have been coming from a person's mouth or the horn of an early (old) gramophone*...

* gramophone meaning:  the name given to 1900 record players (also called "phonographs")

"Put a sock in it" is used:
- used to tell someone to be quiet or stop making so much noise
- it is an impolite way of telling someone to be quiet 

For example:
"Hey, put a sock in it, will you? I'm trying to work here."
"You're talking too loudly, so why don't you put a sock in it?"
Mar 25, 2017 6:58 PM
Comments · 20
This was never very popular in the US. I would guess that it peaked and then died a quiet death here in the 1920s.
March 27, 2017

When I was a child we an antique wind-up gramophone player.  It came with a little box of needles, and I remember you had to change the needle on the stylus every time you played a record! It also had no volume control, and you did indeed have to stuff an old cloth into the box to muffle the sound if you wanted it to play more quietly.

The idiom 'put a sock in it' lasted longer than gramophone players did, but my impression is that it's very rarely used these days. I'm not surprised that Paul has never heard the expression, and I'd imagine that most other younger people are likewise unaware of it.

Thank you for reminding us about this charming idiom, Richard.

March 27, 2017

@"it is an impolite way of telling someone to be quiet"

Hmm, maybe aggressive is a better word than impolite. It's very imperative. "Shut the hell up is impolite."

@"Dahaneto gel begeer"

Definitely putting this one in my notebook.

@"It's impolite to use it though."

That's why I like it :P

March 26, 2017
I think I can honestly say I've never said it in my entire life. To me it's a phrase an older person would use (I am 25.)
March 26, 2017

Max... you asked a good question.

From strong (impolite) to polite, one could say:

- shut up!!!

- be quiet!

- Turn down the volume/don't speak so loudly

- Please turn down the volume/please don't speak so loudly

Hope this helps...

March 26, 2017
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