'pucker up' vs. 'brace yourself'

So, is there any connection between these two phrases? (to pucker up and to brace oneself)
How often do you pucker up for something and what is it?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten

Well, now, that question brought an immediate chuckle. :smiley:

I usually “pucker up” just before a smooch and I rarely brace myself for smooching. :smiley:

One the other hand, I think my nephew usually braces himself at least a little whenever his Aunt Amy wants a goodbye kiss. :lol:


Hi Tom

That’s true. :smiley:

I also thought of something else.
I love the taste of lemons! In fact, I love lemons so much that I sometimes eat them similarly to the way someone else might eat an orange. But, I tend to brace myself a bit for the first sour bite. And just after that first blast of lemon, my mouth usually puckers up. :lol:


Well, I was referring to instances in which you pucker up for something unpleasant such as kissing the ground…[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten

Without any other context, I associate “pucker up” very strongly with the mouth and particularly with kissing, but usually a pleasant sort of kissing. That’s why I used the word “smooch” in my first post. :smiley: And that’s why a connection with “brace onself” made me chuckle.

But, you could say that someone’s face puckers up at the very thought of having to do something particularly unpleasant. The forehead might get wrinkled, the mouth might be tightened, etc. (A different sort of puckering as compared to kissing.) And in that situation, that person would probably also want to brace himself before having to do the unpleasant thing.


People don’t actively pucker up for anything but a kiss. And they only do that if they want the kiss.

People’s mouths can involuntarily pucker up when they’ve eaten something sour.

“Pucker up” as a command means, “Get your mouth ready for a kiss.” It has nothing to do with “brace yourself”.

The only time you would brace yourself for a kiss is when you really don’t want the other person to kiss you. Generally you brace yourself for things like the dentist’s drill or for bad news.

Hi Torsten!

Your post brought an idea in my mind! Now I understand what your intention is: 8)

You are preparing your becoming the next “Big Papa” in Rome!!! :lol:


The next POPE. He’s not called “papa” in English.

Well, Jamie if you are falling and you pucker up because it’s time to kiss the ground you are not really expecting a kiss but rather getting ready to hit the ground, aren’t you?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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If you are falling, you don’t pucker up to kiss the ground. That makes no sense. If you’re falling, you brace yourself to hit the ground. You would pucker up only if you were deliberately easing your lips down to kiss the ground.

I’m not sure you completely understand what it physically means to pucker up.

OK Jamie, I know that learning English from lyrics might be tricky but if pop groups like Jon Bon Jovi pucker up to kiss the ground that the phrase might get a new meaning, wouldn’t you agree? In the lyrics below pucker up means, get ready to hit the ground, at least that’s how I interpret it:

[i]I’m learning how to fall (learning how to fall)
Learning how to take a hit (learning how to fall)
Had to walk before I crawled
It was winner take it all
I’m learning how to fall… (learning how to fall)
Yeah, I got the hang of it

I was flying through the clouds
Pucker up, it’s time to kiss the ground[/i][YSaerTTEW443543]

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It hasn’t taken on a new meaning. This group was using poetic license. That song hasn’t changed the language.

Hi Torsten

I think if you wanted to use the expression “pucker up” in any way other than to describe what lips that are preparing to kiss somebody look like, you would need a very specific context. And if you wanted to indicate that someone’s face “puckered up”, then you’d need to explicitly use the word “face” in the sentence. If you fell flat on your face, it wouldn’t just be the lips that puckered before you hit the ground.

I also would not use “pucker up” to describe kissing the ground — unless I was trying to be humorous or sarcastic or.

In the Bon Jovi Lyrics, you might also interpret the use of the word “fall” to be an indirect reference to “fall in love”. He could be taking a chance on love — either success or failure. If successful, we can expect a lot of kissing. Figuratively speaking, a failure could be described as “falling on your kisser.” Torsten, I wouldn’t expect these lyrics to lead to a fundamental change in the use of “pucker up”.

Hi Jamie

I think it’s good that you mentioned the word “pope”, but I also got the feeling that Michael was intentionally having some fun with the language when he wrote “Big Papa”. :wink:


Hi Torsten

One more thought about the lyrics:

When you’re madly in love, you might be “on cloud nine
When you’re madly in love, you might “kiss the ground she walks on” (= worship her)


I know he was having fun with it, but probably a majority of native English speakers don’t know that “papa” means pope in some languages.

Hi Jamie

But “Papa” can also mean father… even in English. :lol:


Hi Amy! Hi Jamie!

Sorry, I?ve really thought that “Big Papa” is a well known term for the POPE. :oops:


Hi Michael,

If it wasn’t before, it may be now. :smiley:


It’s better to say: “I really thought…”