A proverb that is common enough here and whose origin I'm not aware of, literally goes like:

If you are a cock, crow aloud at daybreak; and if you are a hen, then lay your egg and shut up!

I would use it, for example, on an arrogant person who promises to destroy me. It goes along the lines of "if you are a real man, show us what you can do, or else shut up." How can I express this idea, preferably with an idiom or proverb, in English?

  • What do you mean by "destroy"? Defeat soundly in a game? Or do you have the literal meaning in mind? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 13 '18 at 12:11
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo both. I can use this saying in any situation involving a challenge or invitation for someone to prove their worth or substantiate a claim. – Sara Nov 13 '18 at 15:20

You could consider "put up or shut up":

  • put up or shut up
    put up or shut up informal
    If you say someone should put up or shut up, you mean that they should either take action in order to do what they have been talking about, or stop talking about it:
    You keep saying you're going to ask her out. Well, put up or shut up.
    (Cambridge Dictionary)

  • put up or shut up
    Definition of put up or shut up informal
    —used to tell someone in a somewhat rude way to start doing something or to stop talking about it
    // You've complained long enough. It's time to put up or shut up.

  • Put up or shut up!
    1. Inf. a command to prove something or stop talking about it; Do something or stop promising to do it! I'm tired of your telling everyone how fast you can run. Now, do it! Put up or shut up! Now's your chance to show us that you can run as fast as you can talk. Put up or shut up!

As the entries suggest, it's somewhat rude and can even sound aggressive. You might say this when you're sick of listening to someone talk or complain about something, and you want them to take action. In your case, it can be used as a challenge, like in the third entry.

You keep saying that you'll destroy me. Well, now's your chance. Put up or shut up!

| improve this answer | |

Offhand I cannot think of a proverb, but I'd like to see you try! is something that can be said to someone who has threatened you with some kind of harm. It is a retort that suggests that they won't fare very well if they should take you on.

Another possible retort when someone threatens you with harm: Oh yeah? You and who else? It means that you consider the person to lack the courage or the ability to do what they've threatened to do. They would need outside help to do it.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.