Definition of put verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; pʊt
putting, put, put

in place/position

1 put something + adverb/preposition to move something into a particular place or positionPut the cases down there, please.Did you put sugar in my coffee?Put your hand up if you need more paper.2 put something + adverb/preposition to move something into a particular place or position using forceHe put his fist through a glass door.3 put somebody/something + adverb/preposition to cause somebody/something to go to a particular placeHer family put her into a nursing home.It was the year the Americans put a man on the moon.


4 put something + adverb/preposition to attach or fix something to something elseWe had to put new locks on all the doors.


5 put something (+ adverb/preposition) to write something or make a mark on somethingPut your name here.Friday at 11? I'll put it in my diary.I couldn't read what she had put.

into state/condition

6 put somebody/something + adverb/preposition to bring somebody/something into the state or condition mentionedI was put in charge of the office.The incident put her in a bad mood.Put yourself in my position. What would you have done?I tried to put the matter into perspective.Don't go putting yourself at risk.It was time to put their suggestion into practice.This new injury will put him out of action for several weeks.

affect somebody/something

7 put something on/onto/to something to make somebody/something feel something or be affected by somethingHer new job has put a great strain on her.They put pressure on her to resign.It's time you put a stop to this childish behaviour.

give value/rank

8 put something on something to give or attach a particular level of importance, trust, value, etc. to somethingOur company puts the emphasis on quality.He put a limit on the amount we could spend.9 put somebody/something + adverb/preposition to consider somebody/something to belong to the class or level mentionedI'd put her in the top rank of modern novelists.


10 put something + adverb/preposition to express or state something in a particular wayShe put it very tactfully.Put simply, we accept their offer or go bankrupt.I was, to put it mildly, annoyed (= I was extremely angry).He was too trusting—or, to put it another way, he had no head for business.The meat was— how shall I put it?—a little overdone.As T.S. Eliot puts it…She had never tried to put this feeling into words.Can you help me put this letter into good English, please?

in sport

11 put something to throw the shot
Most idioms containing put are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example put your foot in it is at foot. 

put it about

(British English, informal) to have many sexual partners

I wouldn't put it past somebody (to do something)

(informal) used to say that you think somebody is capable of doing something wrong, illegal, etc.

put it to somebody that…

to suggest something to somebody to see if they can argue against it
I put it to you that you are the only person who had a motive for the crime.

put one over on somebody

(informal) to persuade somebody to believe something that is not trueDon't try to put one over on me!

put somebody through it

(informal, especially British English) to force somebody to experience something difficult or unpleasantThey really put me through it (= asked me difficult questions) at the interview.

put together

used when comparing or contrasting somebody/something with a group of other people or things to mean ‘combined’ or ‘in total’
Your department spent more last year than all the others put together.

put up or shut up

(especially British English) used to tell somebody to stop just talking about something and actually do it, show it, etc.
Phrasal verbs

put something about

(British English, informal) to tell a lot of people news, information, etc. that may be falseput it about that… Someone's been putting it about that you plan to resign.

put something above something

= put something before something

put yourself/something across/over (to somebody)

to communicate your ideas, feelings, etc. successfully to somebodyShe's not very good at putting her views across.

put something aside

1 to ignore or forget something, usually a feeling or difference of opinion
They decided to put aside their differences.
2 to save something or keep it available to useWe put some money aside every month for our retirement.I put aside half an hour every day to write my diary.

put somebody/something at something

to calculate somebody/something to be a particular age, weight, amount, etcThe damage to the building is put at over $1 million.

put somebody away

[often passive] (informal) to send somebody to prison, to a mental hospital, etc.

put something away

1 to put something in the place where it is kept because you have finished using itI'm just going to put the car away (= in the garage).2 to save money to spend laterShe has a few thousand dollars put away for her retirement.3 (informal) to eat or drink large quantities of somethingHe must have put away a bottle of whisky last night.

put something back

1 to return something to its usual place or to the place where it was before it was movedIf you use something, put it back!2 to move something to a later time or date
The meeting has been put back to next week.
3 to cause something to be delayedPoor trading figures put back our plans for expansion.4 to move the hands of a clock so that they show the correct earlier timeRemember to put your clocks back tonight (= because the time has officially changed).

put something before/above something

to treat something as more important than something else

put something behind you

to try to forget about an unpleasant experience and think about the future

put something by

(especially British English) (also put something aside) to save money for a particular purposeI'm putting by part of my wages every week to buy a bike.

put down

(of an aircraft or its pilot) to landHe put down in a field.

put somebody down

(informal) to make somebody look or feel stupid, especially in front of other people related noun put-down

put something down

1 to stop holding something and place it on a table, shelf, etcPut that knife down before you hurt somebody!It's a great book.I couldn't put it down. (British English) She put the phone down on me (= ended the call before I had finished speaking). see also unputdownable2 to write something; to make a note of somethingThe meeting's on the 22nd. Put it down in your diary.3 to pay part of the cost of somethingWe put a 5% deposit down on the house.4 to stop something by force
to put down a rebellionThe military government is determined to put down all opposition.
5 [often passive] to kill an animal, usually by giving it a drug, because it is old or sickWe had to have our cat put down.6 (British English) to put a baby to bedCan you be quiet—I've just put the baby down.7 to present something formally for discussion by a parliament or committee
to put down a motion/an amendment

put somebody down as something

to consider or judge somebody to be a particular type of personI'd put them both down as retired teachers.

put somebody down for something

to put somebody's name on a list, etc. for somethingPut me down for three tickets for Saturday.They've put their son down for the local school.

put something down to something

to consider that something is caused by something
What do you put her success down to?

put something forth

(formal) = put something out (9)

put yourself/somebody forward

to suggest yourself/somebody as a candidate for a job or positionCan I put you/your name forward for club secretary?He has put himself forward for a place on the national executive.

put something forward

1 to move something to an earlier time or dateWe've put the wedding forward by one week.2 to move the hands of a clock to the correct later timeRemember to put your clocks forward tonight (= because the time has officially changed).3 to suggest something for discussionto put forward a suggestion

put somebody in

to elect a political party to govern a countryWho will the voters put in this time?

put something in

1 to fix equipment or furniture into position so that it can be used
We're having a new shower put in.
2 to include something in a letter, story, etc.3 to interrupt another speaker in order to say somethingCould I put in a word?+ speech ‘But what about us?’ he put in.4 to officially make a claim, request, etcThe company has put in a claim for damages.5 put in a (…) performance to give a performance of something, especially one of a particular kindAll the actors put in great performances.6 (also put something into something) to spend a lot of time or make a lot of effort doing somethingShe often puts in twelve hours' work a day.put something into doing something He's putting a lot of work into improving his French. related noun input7 (also put something into something) to use or give moneyput something into doing something He's put all his savings into buying that house.

put in (at…)


put into…

(of a boat or its sailors) to enter a portThey put in at Lagos for repairs.
put out (to…/from…)

put in for something

(especially British English) to officially ask for somethingAre you going to put in for that job?

put yourself/somebody/something in for something

to enter yourself/somebody/something for a competition

put something into something

1 to add a quality to somethingHe put as much feeling into his voice as he could.2 = put something in (6), put something in (7)

put somebody off

1 to cancel a meeting or an arrangement that you have made with somebodyIt's too late to put them off now.She put him off with the excuse that she had too much work to do.2 to make somebody dislike somebody/something or not trust them/itShe's very clever but her manner does tend to put people off.Don't be put off by how it looks—it tastes delicious. see also off-putting3 (also put somebody off something) to disturb somebody who is trying to give all their attention to something that they are doingDon't put me off when I'm trying to concentrate.The sudden noise put her off her game.4 (British English) (of a vehicle or its driver) to stop in order to allow somebody to leaveI asked the bus driver to put me off at the station.

put somebody off something/somebody

to make somebody lose interest in or enthusiasm for something/somebodyHe was put off science by bad teaching.put somebody off doing something The accident put her off driving for life.

put something off

to change something to a later time or date
, delay
We've had to put off our wedding until September.put off doing something He keeps putting off going to the dentist.

put somebody on

to give somebody the telephone so that they can talk to the person at the other endHi, Dad—can you put Nicky on?

put something on

1 to dress yourself in somethingHurry up! Put your coat on!
take off
2 to apply something to your skin, face, etcShe's just putting on her make-up.3 to switch on a piece of equipmentI'll put the kettle on for tea.She put on the brakes suddenly.4 to make a tape, CD, DVD, etc. begin to playDo you mind if I put some music on?He put some jazz on the stereo.5 to become heavier, especially by the amount mentioned
She looks like she's put on weight.He must have put on several kilos.
6 (British English) to provide something speciallyThe city is putting on extra buses during the summer.7 to produce or present a play, a show, etcThe local drama club is putting on ‘Macbeth’.8 to pretend to have a particular feeling, quality, way of speaking, etcHe put on an American accent.I don't think she was hurt. She was just putting it on.

put something on something

1 to add an amount of money or a tax to the cost of somethingThe government has put ten pence on the price of twenty cigarettes.2 to bet money on somethingI've never put money on a horse.I put £5 on him to win.

put somebody onto somebody/something

1 to tell the police, etc. about where a criminal is or about a crimeWhat first put the police onto the scam?2 to tell somebody about somebody/something that they may like or find usefulWho put you onto this restaurant—it's great!

put out (for somebody)

(North American English, slang) to agree to have sex with somebody

put yourself out (for somebody)

(informal) to make a special effort to do something for somebodyPlease don't put yourself out on my account.

put somebody out

1 to cause somebody trouble, extra work, etc.
I hope our arriving late didn't put them out.
2 be put out to be upset or offendedHe looked really put out.3 to make somebody unconsciousThese pills should put him out for a few hours.

put something out

1 to take something out of your house and leave it, for example for somebody to collect: (British English) to put the rubbish out (North American English) to put the garbage/trash out2 to place something where it will be noticed and usedHave you put out clean towels for the guests?3 to stop something from burning or shiningto put out a candle/cigarette/lightFirefighters soon put the fire out.4 to produce something, especially for saleThe factory puts out 500 new cars a week. related noun output5 to publish or broadcast somethingPolice have put out a description of the man they wish to question.6 to give a job or task to a worker who is not your employee or to a company that is not part of your own group or organizationA lot of the work is put out to freelancers.7 to make a figure, result, etc. wrongThe rise in interest rates put our estimates out by several thousands.8 to push a bone out of its normal position
She fell off her horse and put her shoulder out.
9 (also formal put something forth) to develop or produce new leaves, shoots, etc.

put out (to…/from…)

(of a boat or its sailors) to leave a portto put out to seaWe put out from Liverpool.
put in (at…)

put yourself/something over (to somebody)

= put yourself/something across (to somebody)

put something through

to continue with and complete a plan, programme, etcWe managed to put the deal through.

put somebody through something

1 to make somebody experience something very difficult or unpleasantYou have put your family through a lot recently.2 to arrange or pay for somebody to attend a school, college, etcHe put all his children through college.

put somebody/something through (to somebody/…)

to connect somebody by telephoneCould you put me through to the manager, please?

put somebody to something

to cause somebody trouble, difficulty, etcI hope we're not putting you to too much trouble.

put something to somebody

1 to offer a suggestion to somebody so that they can accept or reject itYour proposal will be put to the board of directors.2 to ask somebody a questionThe audience is now invited to put questions to the speaker.

put something together

to make or prepare something by fitting or collecting parts togetherto put together a model plane/an essay/a mealI think we can put together a very strong case for the defence.

put something towards something

to give money to pay part of the cost of somethingHere's $100 to put towards your ski trip.

put up something

1 to show a particular level of skill, determination, etc. in a fight or contestThey surrendered without putting up much of a fight.The team put up a great performance (= played very well).2 to suggest an idea, etc. for other people to discussto put up an argument/a case/a proposal

put somebody up

1 to let somebody stay at your homeWe can put you up for the night.2 to suggest or present somebody as a candidate for a job or positionThe Green Party hopes to put up more candidates in the next election.We want to put you up for club treasurer.

put something up

1 to raise something or put it in a higher positionto put up a flagShe's put her hair up.2 to build something or place something somewhereto put up a building/fence/memorial/tent3 to fix something in a place where it will be seen
to put up a notice
4 to raise or increase somethingThey've put up the rent by £20 a month.5 to provide or lend moneyA local businessman has put up the £500000 needed to save the club.

put up (at…)

(especially British English) to stay somewhere for the nightWe put up at a motel.

put up for something


put yourself up for something

to offer yourself as a candidate for a job or positionShe is putting up for election to the committee.

put somebody up to something

(informal) to encourage or persuade somebody to do something wrong or stupidSome of the older boys must have put him up to it.

put up with somebody/something

to accept somebody/something that is annoying, unpleasant, etc. without complaining
I don't know how she puts up with him.I'm not going to put up with their smoking any longer.
Usage noteUsage note: buildconstruct assemble erect put something upThese words all mean to make something, especially by putting different parts to make something, especially a building, by putting parts together:a house built of stone They're going to build on the site of the old power station.construct [often passive] (rather formal) to build something such as a road, building or machineassemble (rather formal) to fit together all the separate parts of something such as a piece of furniture or a machine:The cupboard is easy to assemble.erect (formal) to build something; to put something in position and make it stand upright:Police had to erect barriers to keep crowds back.put something up to build something or place something somewhere:They're putting up new hotels in order to boost tourism in the build/construct/erect/put up a house/wallto build/construct/erect/put up some shelvesto build/construct/erect/put up a barrier/fence/shelterto build/construct/assemble a(n) engine/machineto build/construct a road/railway/railroad/tunnelto erect/put up a tent/statue/monument