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, 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 shaken by experiencing deep emotion.
It's perhaps surprising "that a phrase so strongly associated with the UK should have originated in America." One of the earliest known references to the phrase was in the Massachusetts Spy, June 1815: "I kept a stiff upper lip, and bought [a] license to sell my goods." 
Poems that feature a memorable evocation of Victorian cold-bloodedness 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. Such schools aimed to instill a code of discipline and devotion to duty in their students through competitive sports, corporal punishments and cold showers.
- Keep a stiff upper lip Phrases.org.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2011
- "Stiff upper lip". World Wide Words. 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/keep-a-stiff-upper-lip.html. Missing or empty
- Spartans and Stoics - Stiff Upper Lip - Icons of England Retrieved 20 February 2011
|Look up stiff upper lip in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- The British Stiff Upper Lip at Sterlingtimes Virtual Scrapbook of British Nostalgia
- Keep A Stiff Upper Lip poem by J.M. Cavaness
- "Decorum is dead! Long live the outburst!" Salon article on the topic