The word ‘put’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to place an object or bring into a particular state.
- Put your hands up in the air. (place an object)
- He put me in a difficult situation. (bring into a particular state)
Put is an irregular verb. The past tense is put and the past participle is put.
idioms list with ‘put’
- put a sock in it – shut up, stop talking
e.g. I think we need to put a sock in it. Grandma is trying to sleep upstairs.
- put down roots – settle/become established
e.g. I’ve been offered a job in Hawaii. The company I work for want to put down roots there.
- put hairs on one’s chest – something is very strong
e.g. My mum said if I eat spinach soup everyday it will put hairs on my chest.
- put money on someone/something – bet, predict to be true
e.g. I’ve put a lot of money on the blues to win today.
- put on a brave face – pretend you’re not upset, afraid, in pain etc. when you really are
e.g. Carlos is putting on a brave face, but I know he is still upset about losing Katie.
- put on hold – pause, postpone something until a later date
e.g. We’ve put the project on hold until we get more funding.
- put on the map – a person/company/brand/country etc. becomes well-know/famous
e.g. A food critic gave my restaurant rave reviews, he’s put me on the map.
- put one’s back into it – use a lot of effort/force
e.g. The jar is a bit tight, put your back into it.
- put one’s best foot forward attempt to make a good impression/try your best
e.g. The boss is coming to the office today, I’ll put my best foot forward.
- put one’s cards on the table – be honest and open about one’s feelings/ideas/intentions
e.g. He put his cards on the table and told me he didn’t love me anymore.
- put one’s feet up – stop working, sit and relax
e.g. You put your feet up and relax, I’ll make the dinner.
- put one’s finger on something – identify something
e.g. I can’t put my finger on which employee is stealing from me. I’ve narrowed to down to 3.
- put one’s foot down – use authority to stop something from happening or accelerate in a vehicle
e.g. We are going to be late for the funeral! Put your foot down.
- put one’s foot in it – say or do something tactless
e.g. I’m afraid I’m going to put my foot in it and let slip about her surprise party.
- put one’s heart and soul into something – apply maximum effort, energy, enthusiasm, passion etc.
e.g. Lexi put her heart and soul into that assignment, but the teacher only gave her a C.
- put one’s mind to it – give something your complete attention, concentration, determination, effort etc.
e.g. I want to be an astronaut. If I put my mind to it, I can do anything.
- put one’s money where one’s mouth is – make a bet or do something instead of just talking about it
e.g. The kitchen will be finished by summer. I’ll put my money where my mouth is.
- put one’s two cents in – say your opinion even when it’s not wanted
e.g. Larry always puts his two cents in even though he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
- put oneself in someone’s shoes – imagine yourself in someone else’s situation/circumstances, empathise
e.g. Put yourself in his shoes. You wouldn’t come to work if your dog has just died.
- put something on ice – delay/postpone
e.g. I’ve put my house move on ice. I need to save more money so I can buy my dream home.
- put the brakes on – slow down/stop a vehicle/an idea/progress/an activity
e.g. We need to put the brakes on our spending if we want a bigger house.
- put the cart before the horse – do things in the wrong order
e.g. They are spending money before they’ve earned it. They’re putting the cart before the horse.
- put the cat among the pigeons – do something that will cause trouble/a disturbance
e.g. I won’t tell Sarah I saw Tim with another woman, I don’t want to put the cat among the pigeons.
- put two and two together – study the evidence and figure out the correct conclusion
e.g. He didn’t come home again last night, I’ve put two and two together and decided he is cheating.
- put words into someone’s mouth – inaccurately report what someone has said
e.g. The journalist put words in my mouth. I didn’t say any of those horrible things.
- put/get one’s thinking cap on – start thinking about something especially how to solve a problem
e.g. I need to think of a birthday present for my girlfriend. I’d better get my thinking cap on.
Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.
Hey, did you know the verb ‘put’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.
Am I right?
I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘put’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.