View synonyms for put


[ poot ]

verb (used with object)

, put, put·ting.
  1. to move or place (anything) so as to get it into or out of a specific location or position:

    I put the book on the shelf.

  2. to bring into some relation, state, etc.:

    After the work, they put everything in order and cleaned up after themselves.

  3. to place in the charge or power of a person, institution, etc.:

    The child welfare agency put her in foster care.

  4. to subject to the endurance or suffering of something:

    During the Cold War, convicted spies were put to death.

  5. to set to a duty, task, action, etc.:

    I put him to work setting the table.

  6. to force or drive to some course or action:

    A handful of archers put the whole army to flight.

  7. to render or translate, as into another language:

    He put the novel into French.

  8. to provide (words) with music as accompaniment; set:

    Donovan put Lewis Carroll’s famous poem “Jabberwocky” to music.

  9. to assign or attribute:

    You put a political interpretation on everything.

  10. to set at a particular place, point, amount, etc., in a scale of estimation:

    I'd put the distance at five miles.

  11. to bet or wager:

    They put two dollars on Saucy Lady, the gray mare.

  12. to express or state:

    To put it mildly, I don't understand.

  13. to apply, as to a use or purpose:

    During your internship you’ll put your knowledge to practical use.

  14. to set, give, or make:

    Let’s put an end to all this nonsense right now.

  15. to propose or submit for answer, consideration, deliberation, etc.:

    I promised to put this question before the committee.

  16. to impose, as a burden, charge, or the like:

    The government has put a tax on luxury articles.

    Synonyms: inflict, levy

  17. to invest (often followed by in or into ):

    They put all their money into real estate.

  18. to lay the blame of (usually followed by on, to, etc.):

    He put my failure to lack of experience.

  19. to throw or cast, especially with a forward motion of the hand when raised close to the shoulder:

    In track and field, I was able to put the shot 35 feet.

verb (used without object)

, put, put·ting.
  1. to go, move, or proceed:

    to put to sea.

  2. Informal. to begin to travel:

    When the rain stopped, we put for home and got there by noon.

  3. to shoot out or grow, or send forth shoots or sprouts.


  1. a throw or cast, especially one made with a forward motion of the hand when raised close to the shoulder.
  2. Also called put op·tion. Finance. an option that gives the right to sell a fixed amount of a particular stock at a predetermined price within a given time, purchased by a person who expects the stock to decline. Compare call ( def 52 ).

verb phrase

    1. to put in the designated place for storage:

      Put away the groceries as soon as you get home.

    2. to save, especially for later use:

      to put away a few dollars each week.

    3. to discard:

      Put away those childish notions.

    4. to drink or eat, especially in a large quantity; finish off:

      to put away a hearty meal after jogging.

    5. to confine in a jail or a mental institution:

      He was put away for four years.

    6. to put (an animal) to death by humane means:

      The dog was so badly injured that the veterinarian had to put it away.

  1. to take unfair advantage of; impose upon:

    Some of the employees felt put upon when they were asked to work late.

    1. to succeed in; accomplish:

      It will take an exceptional administrator to put over this reorganization.

    2. to postpone; defer:

      Discussion of this point will be put over until new evidence is introduced.

    1. to postpone; defer:

      I put off my yearly visit to the eye doctor for a month.

    2. to confuse or perturb; disconcert; repel:

      We were put off by the book's abusive tone.

    3. to get rid of by delay or evasion:

      She put him off, claiming to already have plans for the evening.

    4. to lay aside; take off:

      She put off her shoes with a sigh of relief.

    5. to start out, as on a voyage:

      We packed a picnic lunch and put off for the little island in the middle of the lake.

    6. to launch (a boat) from shore or from another vessel:

      They began to put off the lifeboats as the fire spread.

    1. to cause to be understood or received favorably:

      She put across her new idea.

      He puts himself across well.

    2. to do successfully; accomplish:

      to put a project across.

    3. to be successful in (a form of deception):

      It was obviously a lie, but he put it across.

    1. to write down; register; record:

      I used to put down my thoughts in a personal journal, but now I publish them on my blog.

    2. to enter in a list, as of subscribers or contributors:

      Put me down for a $10 donation.

    3. to suppress; check; squelch:

      to put down a rebellion.

    4. to attribute; ascribe:

      We put your mistakes down to nervousness.

    5. to regard or categorize:

      He was put down as a chronic complainer.

    6. to produce or execute (something) successfully; throw down:

      He was the only skater to put down a clean short program.

    7. Informal. to criticize, especially in a contemptuous manner; disrespect:

      The team leader put down support staff and ignored their contributions.

    8. Informal. to belittle, humiliate, or embarrass:

      Misogynists put down women to keep them subservient.

    9. to pay as a deposit:

      The more money you put down, the less you’ll pay in interest.

    10. to store for future use:

      to put down a case of wine.

    11. to dig or sink, as a well.
    12. to put (an animal) to death by humane means; put to sleep:

      The horse had to be put down after suffering a catastrophic racing injury on the track.

    13. to land an aircraft or in an aircraft:

      We put down at Orly after six hours.

    1. to store up; save: I have some money put by for a rainy day.

      He put aside some dried fruit, water, and energy bars in anticipation of the predicted heavy snowfall.

      I have some money put by for a rainy day.

    2. Also set aside. to put out of the way; place to one side:

      Put aside your books and come for a walk.

    1. Also put into. Nautical. to enter a port or harbor, especially for shelter, repairs, or provisions:

      Viking fleets often put in at Norman ports for provisions.

    2. to interpose; intervene.
    3. to spend (time) as indicated:

      She put in two hours at the piano almost every day for years.

    1. to bring out; bear; grow:

      The trees are putting forth new green shoots.

    2. to propose; present:

      No one has put forth a workable solution.

    3. to bring to public notice; publish:

      A new interpretation of the doctrine has been put forth.

    4. to exert; exercise:

      We will have to put forth our best efforts to win.

    5. to set out; depart:

      Dark clouds threatened as we put forth from the shore.

    1. to complete successfully; execute:

      He was not able to put through his project.

    2. to bring about; effect:

      The proposed revisions have not as yet been put through.

    3. to make a telephone connection for:

      Put me through to Los Angeles.

    4. to make (a telephone connection):

      Put a call through to Hong Kong.

    5. to cause to undergo or endure:

      She's been put through a lot the past year.

    1. to propose; suggest:

      I hesitated to put forward my plan.

    2. to present or promote (oneself or another) for a task, role, etc., or as having certain qualities or qualifications:

      We should put her forward for treasurer.

      He puts himself forward as an expert in combating antisemitism.

    1. Nautical. to change direction, as on a course.
    2. to start (a rumor); circulate.
    3. to inconvenience; trouble.
    4. to disturb; worry.
    5. to turn in a different direction.
  2. to apply for or request (something):

    I put in for a transfer to another department.

  3. to provoke; prompt; incite:

    Someone put him up to calling us.

    1. to clothe oneself with (an article of clothing).
    2. to assume insincerely or falsely; pretend:

      She put on a smile and choked out a welcome.

    3. to assume; adopt.
    4. to inflict; impose.
    5. to cause to be performed; produce; stage:

      The troupe put on a play by a little-known writer.

    6. Informal. to tease (a person), especially by pretending the truth of something that is untrue:

      You can't be serious—you're putting me on, aren't you?

    7. to act in a pretentious or ostentatious manner; exaggerate:

      All that putting on didn't impress anyone.

  4. to endure; tolerate; bear:

    I couldn't put up with the noise any longer.

    1. to construct; erect:

      The town is putting up a new civic center where the old library used to be.

    2. to can (vegetables, fruits, etc.); preserve (jam, jelly, etc.):

      At the end of every summer they put up jars and jars of tomatoes from their garden.

    3. to set or arrange (the hair).
    4. to provide (money); contribute:

      A number of people put up $5,000 apiece, getting the fund-raiser off to a very good start.

    5. to accommodate; lodge:

      Friends offered to put me up for the weekend, and I took them to a fancy restaurant as a thank-you.

    6. to display; show.
    7. to stake (money) to support a wager:

      He put up fifty bucks to get into the football pool.

    8. to propose as a candidate; nominate:

      Someone is going to put him up for president.

    9. to offer, especially for public sale:

      She put up several valuable pieces of art to raise money for the charity.

    10. Archaic. to sheathe one's sword; stop fighting.


/ pʊt /


  1. to cause to be (in a position or place)

    to put a book on the table

  2. to cause to be (in a state, relation, etc)

    to put one's things in order

  3. foll by to to cause (a person) to experience the endurance or suffering (of)

    to put to the sword

    to put to death

  4. to set or commit (to an action, task, or duty), esp by force

    he put him to work

  5. to render, transform, or translate

    to put into English

  6. to set (words) in a musical form (esp in the phrase put to music )
  7. foll by at to estimate

    he put the distance at fifty miles

  8. foll by to to utilize (for the purpose of)

    he put his knowledge to good use

  9. foll by to to couple a female animal (with a male) for the purpose of breeding

    the farmer put his heifer to the bull

  10. to state; express

    to put it bluntly

  11. to set or make (an end or limit)

    he put an end to the proceedings

  12. to present for consideration in anticipation of an answer or vote; propose

    I put it to you that one day you will all die

    he put the question to the committee

  13. to invest (money) in; give (support) to

    he put five thousand pounds into the project

  14. to impart

    to put zest into a party

  15. to throw or cast
  16. not know where to put oneself
    to feel awkward or embarrassed
  17. put paid to
    to destroy irrevocably and utterly

    the manager's disfavour put paid to their hopes for promotion

  18. stay put
    to refuse to leave; keep one's position


  1. a throw or cast, esp in putting the shot
  2. Also calledput option stock exchange an option to sell a stated amount of securities at a specified price during a specified limited period Compare call

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Other Words From

  • well-put adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of put1

First recorded before 1000; Middle English put(t)en “to push, thrust, put,” Old English putian (attested only in verbal noun putung “an impelling, inciting”); akin to pytan, potian “to push, goad”; cognate with Old Norse pota “to thrust, poke”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of put1

C12 puten to push; related to Old English potian to push, Norwegian, Icelandic pota to poke

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. put it to, Slang.
    1. to overburden with work, blame, etc.:

      They really put it to him in officer-training school.

    2. to take advantage of; cheat:

      That used car dealer put it to me good.

  2. put something over on, to take advantage of; deceive:

    He suspected that his friend had put something over on him, but he had no proof.

  3. put to it, confronted with a problem; having difficulty:

    We were put to it to find the missing notebook.

  4. stay put, Informal. to remain in the same position; refuse to move:

    The baby wouldn't stay put, and kept trying to climb out of the playpen.

More idioms and phrases containing put

  • (put) at ease
  • (put on a) brave face
  • cart before the horse, put
  • clamp down (put the clamps on)
  • flesh out (put flesh and bone on)
  • for (put in one's) two cents
  • (put on a) hair shirt
  • hard put
  • (put) in effect
  • (put) in the picture
  • lay (put) one's cards on the table
  • lay (put) one's hands on
  • lay (put) the blame on
  • (put someone's) nose out of joint
  • not put something past someone
  • (put) off the track
  • (put) on a pedestal
  • (put) out of business
  • pull (put over) a fast one
  • put one's head on the block
  • throw (put) off the scent
  • set

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Synonym Study

Put, place, lay, set mean to bring or take an object (or cause it to go) to a certain location or position in order to leave it there. Put is the general word: to put the dishes on the table; to put one's hair up. Place is a more formal word, suggesting precision of movement or definiteness of location: He placed his hand on the Bible. Lay, meaning originally to cause to lie, and set, meaning originally to cause to sit, are used particularly to stress the position in which an object is put: lay usually suggests putting an object rather carefully into a horizontal position: to lay a pattern out on the floor. Set usually means to place upright: to set a child on a horse.

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Example Sentences

To put it rather uncharitably, the USPHS practiced a major dental experiment on a city full of unconsenting subjects.

Kennedy: "Mankind must put an end to war — or war will put an end to mankind."

Obsessive exercising and inadequate nutrition can, over time, put people at high risk for overuse injuries like stress fractures.

When I put their allegations to Epstein, he denied them and went into overdrive.

We did ThunderAnt stuff for ourselves and just put it online, and then it blossomed into something else.

He was voluble in his declarations that they would “put the screws” to Ollie on the charge of perjury.

Each day she resolved, "To-morrow I will tell Felipe;" and when to-morrow came, she put it off again.

This is the place where the Muscovite criminals are banished to, if they are not put to death.

Let them open their minds to us, let them put upon permanent record the significance of all their intrigues and manœuvres.

Before the spinet a bench was placed about four feet below the keys, and I was put upon the bench.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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