v. put, put·ting, puts
1. To place in a specified location; set: She put the books on the table.
2. To cause to be in a specified condition: His gracious manners put me at ease.
3. To cause (one) to undergo something; subject: The interrogators put the prisoner to torture.
4. To assign; attribute: They put a false interpretation on events.
5. To estimate: We put the time at five o'clock.
6. To impose or levy: The governor has put a tax on cigarettes.
7. Games To wager (a stake); bet: put $50 on a horse.
8. Sports To hurl with an overhand pushing motion: put the shot.
9. To bring up for consideration or judgment: put a question to the judge.
10. To express; state: I put my objections bluntly.
11. To render in a specified language or literary form: put prose into verse.
12. To adapt: The lyrics had been put to music.
13. To urge or force to an action: a mob that put the thief to flight.
14. To apply: We must put our minds to it.
15. To force the purchase of (a stock or commodity) by exercising a put option.
Nautical To proceed: The ship put into the harbor.
1. Sports An act of putting the shot.
2. An option to sell a stipulated amount of stock or securities within a specified time and at a fixed price.
Fixed; stationary: stay put.
put about Nautical
To change or cause to change direction; go or cause to go from one tack to another.
1. To state so as to be understood clearly or accepted readily: put her views across during the hearing.
2. To attain or carry through by deceit or trickery.
1. To stop using, working on, or considering until later: We put aside the idea until the next meeting.
2. To disregard; forget about: Why not put aside your grudge?
1. To renounce; discard: put all negative thoughts away.
2. Informal To consume (food or drink) readily and quickly: put away the dinner in just a few minutes.
3. Informal To confine to a prison or mental health facility.
a. Informal To kill: The injured cat was put away.
b. To bury.
To save for later use: "Some crops were so abundant they could even be put by" (Carole Lalli).
a. To write down.
b. To enter in a list.
a. To bring to an end; repress: put down a rebellion.
b. To render ineffective: put down rumors.
3. To subject (an animal) to euthanasia.
a. To criticize: put me down for failing the course.
b. To belittle; disparage: put down their knowledge of literature.
c. To humiliate: "Many status games seem designed to put down others" (Alvin F. Poussaint).
a. To assign to a category: Just put him down as a sneak.
b. To attribute: Let's put this disaster down to inexperience.
6. To consume (food or drink) readily; put away: puts down three big meals a day.
1. To grow: Plants put forth new growth in the spring.
2. To bring to bear; exert: At least put forth a semblance of effort when you scrub the floor.
3. To offer for consideration: put forth an idea.
To propose for consideration: put forward a new plan.
1. To make a formal offer of: put in a plea of guilty.
2. To introduce, as in conversation; interpose: He put in a good word for me.
3. To spend (time) at a location or job: I put in eight hours at the office.
4. To plant: We put in 20 rows of pine trees.
5. To make (a telephone call): I put in a call to the school principal.
6. To apply: put in for early retirement.
a. To enter a port or harbor: The freighter puts in at noon.
b. To launch a small boat: The kayakers put in below the dam.
a. To delay; postpone: put off paying the bills.
b. To persuade to delay further action: managed to put off the creditors for another week.
2. To take off; discard: put off a sweater.
3. To repel or repulse, as from bad manners: His indifferent attitude has put us off.
4. To pass (money) or sell (merchandise) fraudulently.
1. To clothe oneself with; don: put on a coat; put socks on.
2. To apply; activate: put on the brakes.
3. To assume affectedly: put on an English accent.
4. Slang To tease or mislead (another): You're putting me on!
5. To add: put on weight.
6. To produce; perform: put on a variety show.
1. To extinguish: put out a fire.
2. Nautical To leave, as a port or harbor; depart.
3. To expel: put out a drunk from the bar.
4. To publish: put out a weekly newsletter.
a. To inconvenience: Did our early arrival put you out?
b. To offend or irritate: I was put out by his attention to the television set.
6. To make an effort: We've really had to put out to get this project finished.
7. Baseball To cause (a batter or base runner) to be ruled out.
8. Vulgar Slang To be willing to engage in casual sexual activity; be sexually available.
1. To postpone; delay.
2. To put across, especially to deceive: tried to put a lie over, but to no avail.
1. To bring to a successful end: put the project through on time; put through a number of new laws.
2. To cause to undergo: He put me through a lot of trouble.
a. To make a telephone connection for: The operator put me through on the office line.
b. To obtain a connection for (a telephone call).
put to Nautical
To head for shore.
To construct; create: put together a new bookcase; put together a tax package.
1. To erect; build.
2. To preserve; can: put up six jars of jam.
3. To nominate: put up a candidate at a convention.
4. To provide (funds) in advance: put up money for the new musical.
5. To provide lodgings for: put a friend up for the night.
6. Sports To startle (game animals) from cover: put up grouse.
7. To offer for sale: put up his antiques.
a. To make a display or the appearance of: put up a bluff.
b. To engage in; carry on: put up a good fight.
To impose on; overburden: He was always being put upon by his friends.
put an end/a halt/a stop to
To bring to an end; terminate.
put down roots
To establish a permanent residence in a locale.
put in an appearance
To attend a social engagement, especially for a short time.
put it to (someone) Slang
1. To overburden with tasks or work.
2. To put blame on.
3. To take unfair advantage of.
4. To lay out the facts of a situation to (another) in a forceful candid manner.
5. To defeat soundly; trounce.
put (one) in mind
To remind: You put me in mind of your grandmother.
put (oneself) out
To make a considerable effort; go to trouble or expense.
put (one's) finger on
To identify: I can't put my finger on the person in that photograph.
put (one's) foot down
To take a firm stand.
put (one's) foot in (one's) mouth
To make a tactless remark.
put paid to Chiefly British
To finish off; put to rest: "We've given up saying we only kill to eat; Kraft dinner and freeze-dried food have put paid to that one" (Margaret Atwood).
put (someone) in (someone's) place
To lower the dignity of (someone); humble.
put (someone) through (someone's) paces
To cause to demonstrate ability or skill; test: The drama coach put her students through their paces before the first performance.
put (someone) up to
To cause to commit a funny, mischievous, or malicious act: My older brother put me up to making a prank telephone call.
put something over on
To deceive, cheat, or trick.
put the arm/bite/squeeze on Slang
To ask another for money.
put the finger on Slang
To inform on: The witness put the finger on the killer.
put the lie to
To show to be false or inaccurate.
put the make/moves on Slang
To make sexual advances to.
put the screws to/on Slang
To pressure (another) in an extreme manner.
put the skids on Slang
To bring to a halt: "Sacrificing free speech to put the skids on prurient printed matter is not the correct path, the courts said" (Curtis J. Sitomer).
put to bed Informal
1. To make final preparations for the printing of (a newspaper, for example).
2. To make final preparations for completing (a project).
put to it
To cause extreme difficulty for: We were put to it to finish the book on time.
put to sleep
1. To make weary; bore.
2. To subject to euthanasia.
3. To subject to general anesthesia.
put two and two together
To draw the proper conclusions from existing evidence or indications.
put up or shut up Slang
To have to endure an unpleasant situation or take action to remedy it.
put up with
To endure without complaint: We had to put up with the inconvenience.
[Middle English putten, back-formation from Old English *pūtte, past tense of pȳtan, to put out.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.