Why do we say “Put up your dukes” when getting ready to fight?
England’s duke of York (1763-1820) was a failure as a military commander, but the troops loved him for his fighting spirit. His feisty reputation was enhanced when he fought a duel with the future duke of Richmond. He also was seen regularly at the boxing ring. As a result, boxers nicknamed their fists the “dukes of York” in his honor, and the phrase was soon shortened to “dukes.”