Meaning of PUT in English


put S1 W1 /pʊt/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle put , present participle putting ) [transitive]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: putian ]

1 . MOVE TO PLACE [always + adverb/preposition] to move something to a particular place or position, especially using your hands SYN place :

He put the coffee on the table.

Where did you put the programmes?

⇨ see Thesaurus box on P.1414

2 . CHANGE SB’S SITUATION/FEELINGS [always + adverb/preposition] to change someone’s situation or the way they feel:

Don’t put yourself into a situation you can’t handle.

put somebody in a good/bad etc mood (=make them feel happy/annoyed etc)

The long delay had put us all in a bad mood.

I don’t want to put you in danger.

Pit closures have put thousands of miners out of a job (=made them lose their job) .

put somebody in control/command/charge etc (=give someone authority over a group, activity, or organization)

His boss resigned and Murphy was put in charge.

Politics puts me to sleep.

A knee injury put him out of action for three months.

3 . WRITE/PRINT SOMETHING to write or print something or to make a mark with a pen or pencil

put something in/on/under etc something

Put your name at the top of each answer sheet.

put something to something

He put his signature to the contract (=he signed it to show he agreed with it) .

4 . EXPRESS [always + adverb/preposition] to say or write something using words in a particular way

put something well/cleverly/simply etc

The question was well put.

So it was an accident, an ‘act of God’ if you want to put it like that.

When women joined the organization, it ‘took on a new look', as news reports put it.

It is hard to put into words (=express) how I feel now.

He’s not very musical, to put it mildly (=he’s not musical at all) .

We get on each other’s nerves, to put it bluntly (=to say exactly what I mean) .

It’s fairly risky. Or to put it another way (=say it in different words) , don’t try this at home.

The subject matter makes the painting a little, how shall I put it (=how can I say it politely?) , undesirable for public display.

5 . put a stop/an end to something to stop an activity that is harmful or unacceptable:

We must put an end to their threats.

6 . put something into action/effect/practice to start using a plan, idea, knowledge etc:

James was keen to put some of the things he had learned into practice.

7 . ASK/SUGGEST to ask a question or make a suggestion, especially to get someone’s opinion or agreement

put a proposition/proposal/case etc to somebody

He put the proposal to his wife.

put something before somebody

The budget was put before the board of directors.

Can I put a question to you?

I put it to you that this proposal has to be considered.

8 . put something right to make a situation better, especially after someone has made a mistake or behaved badly:

He has a chance to put things right by admitting a mistake was made.

9 . put somebody straight/right ( also set somebody straight/right ) to tell someone the true facts when they have made a mistake that annoys you:

A young man was in here asking for ‘Miss’ Whalby, but I put him right on that one.

10 . put something straight to make something look clean and tidy:

It took us all weekend to put the garden straight.

11 . MAKE SOMEBODY/SOMETHING DO SOMETHING to make someone or something work or do something, or to use it:

a scheme to put unemployed people to work on government construction projects

If you have a spare room, put it to work for you – take in a lodger.

Computer games are being put to use in the classroom.

We put 15 rain jackets to the test (=we tested them) .

12 . HAVE IMPORTANCE/QUALITY [always + adverb/preposition] to consider something as having a particular level of importance or quality

put somebody as/among/in etc something

A recent poll put Dr Martens among the world’s top thirty designer labels.

put somebody/something before somebody/something

Some companies put profit before safety.

put somebody/something first/second etc

The job’s important to him, but he puts his family first.

13 . SEND SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE [always + adverb/preposition] to arrange for someone to go to a place, or to make them go there

put somebody in (something)

The company is putting in new management.

Pneumonia put him in the hospital for a week.

Put the boys to bed around eight o'clock.

14 . put somebody on a train/plane etc to take someone to a plane, train etc to start a journey:

I put her on the plane for London.

15 . put paid to something British English to spoil and end your hopes or plans completely:

A car accident put paid to his chances of taking part in the race.

16 . I wouldn’t put it past somebody (to do something) spoken used to say that you think someone could easily do something wrong or illegal:

I wouldn’t put it past him to use force.

17 . put somebody to trouble/inconvenience especially British English to make extra work or cause problems for someone

18 . put it there spoken used to tell someone to put their hand in yours, either as a greeting or after making an agreement with them:

$500? OK, it’s a deal. Put it there!

19 . THROW to throw a ↑ shot (=a heavy metal ball) in a sports competition

⇨ put your finger on something at ↑ finger 1 (4), ⇨ put your foot down at ↑ foot 1 (13), ⇨ put your foot in it at ↑ foot 1 (15), ⇨ put the record straight at ↑ record 1 (10), ⇨ put something to (good) use at ↑ use 2 (4), ⇨ put your back into it at ↑ back 2 (19)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 4)

■ adverbs

▪ well

Sorry, I’m not putting it very well.

▪ simply

Put simply, our aim is to create art.

▪ succinctly (=using only a few words)

A Russian economist put it most succinctly: ‘People do not care about carbon.’

▪ mildly (=in a way that is not extreme)

His theory is controversial, to put it mildly.

▪ bluntly/crudely/plainly (=in a direct way that may offend people)

I would put it more bluntly. I think you are wallowing in self-pity.

▪ delicately (=in a way that will not offend people)

He had been drunk, or as Hilton delicately put it, ‘talkative’.

▪ cleverly

I didn't agree with her, but she put her argument so cleverly that I was almost persuaded.

■ phrases

▪ put something another way

The dress was too small for me, or, to put it another way, I was too big for it.

▪ put something this/that way

Let me put it this way - she's not as young as she was.

▪ put something like that/this

‘He's been completely irresponsible.’ ‘I wouldn’t put it quite like that.’

▪ put something into words (=say what you are feeling or thinking)

She couldn’t put her feelings into words.

▪ how shall I/we put it? (=used before saying something in an indirect or polite way)

Mr Lewis is now – how shall we put it? – hardly the influence he once was.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 7)

■ nouns

▪ put a question (to somebody)

I will be putting that very question to her.

▪ put a proposition/proposal to somebody

I’ve a proposition to put to you.

▪ put a point to somebody

You should put that point to the Chancellor.

▪ put a case (to somebody)

He wanted to put his case to the full committee.

■ phrases

▪ put it to somebody that

I put it to him that what we needed was some independent advice.

• • •


▪ put to move something to a particular place:

I’ve put the wine in the fridge.


Where have you put my grey shirt?

▪ place to put something somewhere carefully:

‘It’s beautiful,’ he said, placing it back on the shelf.

▪ lay to put someone or something down carefully on a flat surface:

He laid all the money on the table.


She laid the baby on his bed.

▪ position to carefully put something in a suitable position:

Position the microphone to suit your height.


Troops were positioned around the city.

▪ slip to put something somewhere with a quick movement:

He slipped his arm around her waist.


Carrie quickly slipped the money into her bag.

▪ shove to put something into a space or container quickly or carelessly:

Shove anything you don’t want in that sack.


I’ve ironed those shirts so don’t just shove them in a drawer.

▪ stick ( also bung British English ) informal to put something somewhere quickly or carelessly:

I stuck the address in my pocket and I can’t find it now.


Could you bung those clothes in the washing machine?

▪ dump to put something down somewhere in a careless and untidy way:

Don’t just dump all your bags in the kitchen.


People shouldn’t dump rubbish at the side of the street.

▪ pop informal to quickly put something somewhere, usually for a short time:

Pop it in the microwave for a minute.

▪ thrust literary to put something somewhere suddenly or forcefully:

‘Hide it,’ he said, thrusting the watch into her hand.

■ to put something into a liquid

▪ dip to put something into a liquid for a very short time and take it out again:

She dipped her hand in the water to see how hot it was.


Prawns are delicious dipped in a spicy sauce.

▪ plunge to put something quickly, firmly, and deeply into a liquid:

Plunge the pasta into a pan of boiling water.


I had to plunge my arm in up to the elbow to reach the keys.

▪ dunk to put something such as a piece of bread or cake into a hot drink or soup before eating it:

I love biscuits dunked in coffee.

▪ immerse to put something deep into a liquid so that it is completely covered:

If the plant’s leaves look dry, immerse the roots in water for a while.

put about phrasal verb

1 . put something about British English informal to give other people news or information, especially when it is unpleasant or untrue:

After he was fired, he put it about that he was fed up with working for such a large company.

2 . put (something) about technical if a ship puts about or if you put it about, it changes direction

3 . put yourself about British English informal to have sexual relationships with a lot of different people

put something ↔ across phrasal verb

1 . to explain your ideas, beliefs etc in a way that people can understand:

He was trying to put across a serious point.

2 . put yourself across British English to explain your ideas and opinions clearly so that people understand them and realize what sort of person you are:

Sue’s never been very good at putting herself across at interviews.

3 . to sing, play music, or act in a film or play in a clear effective way:

She can really put a song across.

put something ↔ aside phrasal verb

1 . to try to stop thinking about a problem, argument, or disagreement, because you want to achieve something:

You must put aside your pride and apologise to him.

2 . to save money regularly, usually for a particular purpose:

She put at least £30 a week aside for food.

3 . to put down something you are reading or working with, in order to start doing something else:

He glanced at the note, put it aside and went on with the meeting.

4 . to keep a period of time free in order to be able to do something:

If you’re planning a trip to the museum, be sure to put aside at least an hour and a half.

put something at something phrasal verb

to calculate or guess an amount, number, age etc, without being very exact:

Her fortune was put at £5.5 million.

put somebody/something away phrasal verb

1 . put something ↔ away to put something in the place where it is usually kept:

He put his toys away every night.

2 . put something ↔ away to save money:

We’re putting some money away for expenses.

3 . put somebody away informal to put someone in a prison or in a mental hospital:

If you are found guilty, the judge is going to put you away for life.

4 . put something ↔ away informal to eat or drink a lot:

It’s amazing the amount that child can put away.

5 . put something ↔ away informal to score a ↑ goal , especially after other failed attempts:

He seized the opportunity to put the ball away.

6 . put something ↔ away American English informal to defeat your opponent in a sports competition:

Two plays later, Smith scored to put the game away.

put something back phrasal verb

1 . put somebody/something ↔ back to put people or things in the place or situation they were in before:

She put the saucepan back on the stove.

Our win today put us back into third place in the league.

2 . put something ↔ back to arrange for an event to start at a later time or date SYN postpone

put something ↔ back to

The meeting has been put back to next Thursday.

3 . put something ↔ back to delay a process or activity by a number of weeks, months etc:

This fire could put back the opening date by several weeks.

4 . to make someone or something have something that they used to have before:

The win put a smile back on his face.

5 . put a clock/watch back British English to make a clock or watch show an earlier time SYN set back American English ⇨ put the clock back at ↑ clock 1 (3)

put something behind you phrasal verb

to try to forget about an unpleasant event or experience and think about the future:

She had dealt with the guilt years ago and put it behind her.

put something ↔ by phrasal verb

to save money regularly in order to use it later:

We’re trying to put a little by each month for a new car.

put down phrasal verb

1 . PLACE put something/somebody ↔ down to put something or someone that you are holding or carrying onto a surface:

Put those heavy bags down for a minute.

2 . CRITICIZE put somebody ↔ down to criticize someone and make them feel silly or stupid SYN belittle :

I hate the way Dave puts me down the whole time.

put yourself down

Stop putting yourself down.

3 . WRITE put something ↔ down to write something, especially a name or number, on a piece of paper or on a list SYN write down :

Put down your name and address.

4 . put down a revolution/revolt/rebellion etc to stop a ↑ revolution etc by using force:

The uprising was put down by the police and the army.

5 . PAY put something ↔ down to pay part of the total cost of something, so that you can pay the rest later

put something ↔ down on

They put down a deposit on the goods until Christmas.

6 . BABY put somebody down to put a baby in its bed:

We try to put Amy down at six every evening.

7 . put the phone down to put the ↑ receiver back onto the telephone when you have finished speaking to someone SYN hang up

put the phone down on

She put the phone down on me (=suddenly ended the conversation) .

8 . KILL put something ↔ down to kill an animal without causing it pain, usually because it is old or sick SYN put something to sleep :

We had to have the dog put down.

9 . I couldn’t put it down spoken used to say that you found a book, game etc extremely interesting:

Once I’d started reading it I just couldn’t put it down.

10 . AIRCRAFT put (something) down if an aircraft puts down or if a pilot puts it down, it lands, especially because of an ↑ emergency :

The engine failed and the plane put down in the sea.

11 . put down a motion/an amendment to suggest a subject, plan, change in the law etc for a parliament or committee to consider

12 . LEAVE PASSENGER put somebody down British English to stop a vehicle so that passengers can get off at a particular place:

He asked the taxi to put him down at the end of the road.

put somebody down as something phrasal verb

to guess what someone is like or what they do, without having much information about them:

I didn’t think he was unfriendly. I put him down as shy.

put somebody down for something phrasal verb

1 . to put someone’s name on a list so that they can take part in an activity, join an organization etc:

They put themselves down for a training course.

2 . put somebody down for £5/£20 etc especially British English to write someone’s name on a list with an amount of money that they have promised to give

put something down to something phrasal verb

1 . to think that something is caused by something else:

I was having difficulty reading, which I put down to the poor light.

2 . put it down to experience to try not to feel too upset about failure, especially when you learn something useful from it:

Everyone gets rejected from time to time; put it down to experience.

put forth something phrasal verb

1 . to suggest an idea, explanation etc, especially one that other people later consider and discuss SYN submit :

Arguments were put forth for changing some of the rules of the game.

2 . put forth leaves/shoots/roots etc formal if a tree or bush puts forth leaves etc, it begins to grow them

put somebody/something ↔ forward phrasal verb

1 . to suggest a plan, proposal, idea etc for other people to consider or discuss SYN propose :

They put forward a number of suggestions.

2 . to suggest formally that you or someone else should be considered for a particular job, membership of an organization etc:

Her name was put forward for the lead role in the play.

3 . to arrange for an event to start at an earlier time or date

put somebody/something ↔ forward to

The men’s final has been put forward to 1:30.

4 . put a clock/watch forward British English to make a clock or watch show a later time SYN set forward American English

• • •


■ nouns

▪ put forward a proposal/suggestion

She put forward a compromise proposal.

▪ put forward a plan/scheme

Both parties have put forward plans for political reform.

▪ put forward an idea

In 1829 he put forward the idea that the Earth is contracting.

▪ put forward a theory/hypothesis

Many theories have been put forward as to the building’s original purpose.

▪ put forward a view

We should encourage individuals to put forward their views.

▪ put forward an argument

He rejected the arguments put forward by the company’s lawyers.

▪ put forward a reason/explanation

A variety of reasons have been put forward to explain these changes.

put in phrasal verb

1 . put something ↔ in to fix a piece of equipment somewhere and connect it so that it is ready to be used SYN instal :

We decided to have a new bathroom put in.

2 . put something ↔ in to spend time or use energy working or practising something:

Dorothy had put in a lot of hard work during her six years as chairperson.

3 . put in something written to interrupt someone in order to say something:

‘How old are you?’ ‘Sixteen.’ ‘I’m sixteen too,’ put in Dixie.

4 . put something ↔ in to ask for something in an official way:

She put in an insurance claim.

We must put in an order by tonight.

put in for something

I put in for a pay increase.

5 . put your faith/trust/confidence in somebody/something to trust someone or something or believe that they can do something:

I’m putting my faith in the appeal judges.

6 . put in something to do something in a particular way, especially a performance in a play, film, race etc:

He put in a brilliant performance in the British Grand Prix.

7 . put in an appearance to go to a social event, meeting etc for a short time:

There was an hour yet before she needed to put in an appearance at the restaurant.

8 . if a ship puts in, it enters a port

put something into something phrasal verb

1 . to make money available to be used for a particular purpose:

The government appears to be putting more money into education.

2 . to use a lot of energy etc when you are doing an activity:

Candidates put a lot of time and effort into gaining qualifications.

3 . to add a quality to something:

These simple recipes put more fun into eating.

put somebody/something off phrasal verb

1 . put something ↔ off to delay doing something or to arrange to do something at a later time or date, especially because there is a problem or you do not want to do it now SYN delay , procrastinate :

The match has been put off until tomorrow because of bad weather.

put off doing something

I put off going to the doctor but I wish I hadn’t.

2 . put somebody ↔ off British English to make you dislike something or not want to do something:

Don’t let the restaurant’s decor put you off – the food is really good.

put somebody off (doing) something

Don’t let your failures put you off trying harder.

3 . put somebody off to make someone wait because you do not want to meet them, pay them etc until later SYN stall :

When he calls, put him off as long as you can.

4 . put somebody off (something) British English to make it difficult for someone to pay attention to what they are doing by talking, making a noise, moving etc:

It puts me off when you watch me all the time.

5 . put somebody off (something) British English to let someone leave a vehicle at a particular place:

I’ll put you off at the supermarket.

put somebody/something on phrasal verb

1 . CLOTHES put something ↔ on to put a piece of clothing on your body OPP take off :

He took off his uniform and put on a sweater and trousers.

I’ll have to put my glasses on; I can’t read the sign from here.

2 . ON SKIN put something ↔ on to put ↑ make-up , cream etc on your skin:

I’ve got to put this cream on twice a day.

3 . AFFECT/INFLUENCE SOMETHING put something on something to do something that affects or influences someone or something else:

The government put a limit on imports of textiles.

Pat was putting pressure on him to leave his wife.

4 . START EQUIPMENT put something ↔ on to make a light or a piece of equipment start working by pressing or turning a button or switch SYN switch on , turn on :

He got up and put on the light.

Shall I put the kettle on?

5 . MUSIC put something ↔ on to put a record, tape, or ↑ CD into a machine and start playing it:

She put on some music while they ate.

6 . PRETEND put something ↔ on to pretend to have a particular feeling, opinion, way of speaking etc especially in order to get attention:

Sheila’s not really that upset; she’s just putting it on.

Leaving the court, the families all tried to put on a brave face (=not show that they were sad or worried) .

7 . put on weight/12 lbs/4 kg etc to become fatter and heavier SYN gain :

Rosie’s put on five kilos since she quit smoking.

8 . EVENT/CONCERT/PLAY ETC put something ↔ on to arrange for a concert, play etc to take place, or to perform in it:

One summer the children put on a play.

9 . SHOW WHAT YOU CAN DO put something ↔ on to show what you are able to do or what power you have:

The team need to put on another world-class performance.

10 . COOK put something ↔ on to start cooking something:

Shall I put the pasta on now?

11 . PROVIDE SOMETHING put something ↔ on British English to provide a service for people, especially a special one:

BA is putting on extra flights to cover the Christmas rush.

12 . you’re putting me on! especially American English spoken used to tell someone that you think they are joking:

He wouldn’t do that – you’re putting me on.

13 . RISK MONEY put something on something to risk an amount of money on the result of a game, race etc SYN bet :

We put £50 on Brazil to win the Cup.

14 . ADD put something on something to add an amount of money or tax onto the cost of something:

Can smokers really complain if more tax is put on cigarettes?

15 . TELEPHONE put somebody ↔ on to give someone the telephone so that they can talk to someone who is telephoning:

Can you put Janet on?

put somebody onto somebody/something phrasal verb

British English informal to give someone information about something interesting or useful that they did not know about:

Jo put us onto this fantastic French restaurant.

put out phrasal verb

1 . FIRE/CIGARETTE ETC put something ↔ out to make a fire etc stop burning SYN extinguish :

The rescue services are still trying to put out the fires.

2 . LIGHT put something ↔ out to make a light stop working by pressing or turning a button or switch SYN switch off

3 . MAKE AVAILABLE put something ↔ out to put things where people can find and use them:

The girls helped her to put out the cups and plates.

4 . feel/be put out to feel upset or offended:

We were a little put out at not being invited to the wedding.

5 . MAKE EXTRA WORK put somebody out to make extra work or cause problems for someone:

Mary can’t come to dinner tonight. She hopes it won’t put you out.

6 . put yourself out to make an effort to do something that will help someone:

They had put themselves out to entertain her during her visit.

7 . TAKE OUTSIDE put something ↔ out to take something outside your house and leave it there:

Remember to put the cat out before you go to bed.

put the rubbish/garbage etc out (=put unwanted things outside your house to be taken away)

put the washing out (=put clothes outside to dry)

8 . put your tongue out to push your tongue out of your mouth, especially as a rude sign to someone

9 . put your hand/foot/arm out to move your hand etc forward and away from your body:

He put out his hand toward her.

10 . MAKE UNCONSCIOUS put somebody out to make someone unconscious before a medical operation

11 . put your back out to injure your back

12 . PRODUCE SOMETHING put something ↔ out to broadcast or produce something for people to read or listen to:

They put out a half-hour programme on young refugees.

13 . put out feelers to try to discover information or opinions by listening to people or watching what is happening:

He had already put out feelers with local employers but they hadn’t been interested.

14 . SHIP if a ship puts out, it starts to sail

15 . HAVE SEX American English informal if a woman puts out, she has sex with a man

16 . BASEBALL put somebody out to prevent a baseball player from running around the ↑ base s , for example by catching the ball that they have hit

put something ↔ over phrasal verb

1 . British English to succeed in telling other people your ideas, opinions, feelings etc:

The advert puts over the message clearly and simply: nuclear power is clean.

2 . put one/something over on somebody informal to deceive someone into believing something that is not true or that is useless:

Nobody could put one over on him.

put through phrasal verb

1 . put somebody/something ↔ through to connect someone to someone else on the telephone

put somebody/something ↔ through to

Could you put me through to Eddie?

2 . put somebody through school/college/university to pay for someone to study at school, college etc:

She worked as a waitress and put herself through school.

3 . put somebody through something to make someone do or experience something difficult or unpleasant:

The soldiers were put through eight weeks of basic training.

They really put me through it at the interview.

4 . put something ↔ through to do what is necessary in order to get a plan or suggestion accepted or approved:

Production will start up again when these changes have been put through.

put something ↔ together phrasal verb

1 . to prepare or produce something by collecting pieces of information, ideas etc:

It took all morning to put the proposal together.

2 . to form people or things into a group:

We are currently putting together a sales and marketing team.

3 . to make a machine, model etc by joining all the different parts SYN assemble :

I can’t work out how to put this table together.

4 . more ... than the rest/the others/everything else put together used to say that one amount is greater than the total of a set of amounts:

Paul seemed to have more money than the rest of us put together.

put something towards something phrasal verb

to use some money in order to pay part of the cost of something:

Alec put the money towards a trip to Australia.

put somebody under phrasal verb

if a doctor puts you under, they give you drugs to make you unconscious before ↑ surgery

put up phrasal verb

1 . BUILD put something ↔ up to build something such as a wall, fence, building etc SYN erect :

They’re putting up several new office blocks in the centre of town.

2 . FOR PEOPLE TO SEE put something ↔ up to put a picture, notice etc on a wall so that people can see it:

Can I put up some posters?

The shops have started to put up Christmas decorations.

3 . ATTACH SOMETHING put something ↔ up to attach a shelf, cupboard etc to a wall:

My dad put up five shelves.

4 . INCREASE put something ↔ up British English to increase the cost or value of something SYN raise :

Most big stores admit they daren’t put prices up for fear of losing their customers.

5 . RAISE put something ↔ up to raise something to a higher position:

I put up my hand and asked to leave the room.

Philip put his hood up because it was raining.

6 . LET SOMEBODY STAY put somebody up to let someone stay in your house and give them meals:

I was hoping Kenny could put me up for a few days.

7 . STAY SOMEWHERE British English to stay in a place for a short time

put up at/in/with

We can put up at a hotel for the night.

8 . put up a fight/struggle/resistance to show great determination to oppose something or get out of a difficult situation:

Gina put up a real fight to overcome the disease.

The rebels have put up fierce resistance.

9 . put up something to give an amount of money for a particular purpose:

The paper put up a reward for information on the murder.

10 . MAKE AVAILABLE put something up to make something or someone available for a particular purpose

put something up for

They put their house up for sale.

The baby was put up for adoption.

11 . put up a proposal/argument/case etc to explain a suggestion or idea so that other people can think about it or discuss it:

If you can put up a good enough case, the board will provide the finance.

12 . ELECTIONS put somebody ↔ up to suggest someone as a suitable person to be elected to a position:

I was put up for the committee.

13 . put up or shut up spoken informal used to tell someone that they should either do what needs to be done or stop talking about it

put somebody up to something phrasal verb

to encourage someone to do something stupid or dangerous:

‘Did Shirley put you up to this?’ ‘No, it was my own idea.’

put up with somebody/something phrasal verb

to accept an unpleasant situation or person without complaining:

She put up with his violent temper.


In written English, people usually prefer to use tolerate , which is more formal:

They had to tolerate many hardships.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.