[noun poo t-on, -awn; adjective poo t-on, -awn]

noun Informal.

an act or instance of putting someone on.
a prank or pretense, especially one perpetrated or assumed in mock seriousness; hoax; spoof.
affected manner or behavior; pretentiousness.


assumed, feigned, pretended, or disguised: a put-on manner that didn't fool anyone.

Nearby words

  1. put wise,
  2. put words in someone's mouth,
  3. put your foot in your mouth,
  4. put-and-take,
  5. put-down,
  6. put-out,
  7. put-put,
  8. put-up,
  9. put-up job,
  10. put-upon

Origin of put-on

1855–60; adj., noun use of verb phrase put (someone) on

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for put-on

Word Origin and History for put-on



"ruse, deception," 1937, from earlier adjectival meaning "assumed, feigned" (1620s), a figurative extension of the notion of putting on costumes or disguises; from put (v.) + on (adv.). The expression put (someone) on "play a trick on" seems to be a back-formation from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper